Campaign of the Week

12 December 2023

Yeti fills the gaps in Google Maps to promote outdoor-living products 

Outdoor-living brand maps uncharted hiking trails in Google Street View to create a subtle product demo

In 2019, Google revealed that it had mapped 98% of the world. According to the tech giant, there are 36 million square miles of Google Earth imagery, and Google Street View covers 10 million miles of roads – the same distance as 400 times the Earth’s circumference.

To outdoor gear brand Yeti, that didn’t sound like enough. The brand, renowned for its durable coolers and stainless-steel drinkware, saw the absence of maps of more rugged terrain as a potential obstacle to exploring the outdoors. To increase accessibility and encourage exploration, it embarked on a mission to fill some of that 2% gap, mapping uncharted hiking trails in its Map the Gaps campaign.

The brand enlisted 13 ambassadors – including renowned rock climbers Conrad Anker and Steph Davis – and tasked them with documenting 15 of their most beloved trails with GoPro cameras. The explorers carried Yeti’s newly launched Hopper backpack coolers for the challenge and captured scenic landscapes in North America and Australia. The images were then uploaded to Google Street View. 

The footage has been made available on a website where people can navigate the length of each path through a click-and-tap interface. The website also includes 360-degree views and the hikers’ favourite waypoints, enhancing the exploration experience. The campaign’s tagline, ‘Where the street ends, the journey begins’, is also designed to inspire Yeti customers to start mapping their own trails.

Yeti incorporated Map the Gaps in its communications on its M Series coolers and in print ads featured in publications targeting outdoor enthusiasts. The campaign, which was also promoted on Instagram, was created in-house. 

Contagious Insight 

Quality ride / Yeti continues to reinforce its positioning around providing reliable products for the outdoor enthusiast with this campaign. 

In 2020, it launched the Built for Generations brand platform to highlight the quality and longevity of its products (Contagious covered the latest iteration in August 2023). Map the Gaps continues that association with quality. The ambassadors, some of whom are experienced athletes, take Yeti’s new product line to unmapped territories that are challenging to navigate, reflecting the sturdiness of its products. The campaign neatly inserts a product demo on a platform with an extensive reach –Google Street View is accessible via Google Maps, with 1 billion monthly active users. The new trail maps communicate a clear message to a broad audience –  Yeti is the top choice for serious hikers – solidifying its position as the go-to gear for the avid adventurer.

Subtle flex / This mapping effort emphasises Yeti’s outdoors credentials and authentic brand identity in an understated, undisruptive way; the campaign weaves in the brand’s products subtly, ensuring that the beautiful hiking trails and picturesque landscapes remain the stars of the show. The result is an engaging, authentic and useful tool for Yeti’s target audience. The approach is also on brand for Yeti. The Built for Generations campaign was a simple yet impactful series of outdoor ads showcasing Yeti’s sturdy products alongside single-use alternatives. The ads used concise and snappy copy to communicate the brand’s sustainability message. Similarly, Map the Gaps doesn’t force-feed its product message. The campaign lets its recently launched backpack speak for itself. As creativity specialist Richard Holman explored in a blog post, leaving a ‘gap’ for viewers to connect the dots makes for more engaging, distinctive and memorable advertising, and ‘also shows your audience that you respect them’.

The great outdoors / With this campaign, Yeti encourages a broader audience to go on hikes. Newer generations have grown up relying solely on their phones for navigation, meaning they’re likely to prioritise Google Maps over physical maps, even in nature. Mapping hard-to-access terrain removes a barrier to entry for less experienced, aspirational hikers, widening Yeti’s potential customer base. Further, including ambassadors who generate content for the brand and highlight intriguing stops helps Yeti reach a broader, more mainstream audience, guiding the public through the discovery of 15 impressive hiking trails.

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