The Billabong team has been marketing up a storm on the North Shore for the Billabong Pipe Masters.
We spoke with Cathey Curtis, VP of Global Marketing for Billabong Women’s, and Scott Hargreaves, VP of Global Marketing for Billabong Men’s, about the many projects they have been working on in the past week or so.
Two events seemed to garner a lot of attention – Iggy Pop performing at the Billabong house to kick off the contest and a new collaboration collection, and the Billabong Women’s New Wave Beach Party in Waikiki.
Cathey Curtis, Global VP of Marketing, Billabong Women’s
What kind of influencers are you working with in Hawaii and how did you choose them?
Cathey Curtis: We are centering our activations in the North Shore around our incredible female athletes and invited influencers for a combination of surfing, filming and hosting.
This year we are launching our global New Wave product collection in Hawaii, with a nod to 80’s surf culture starring our athletes.
We have launched a video trailer – basically a fun spoof on 80’s surf videos - that has already reached more than 100,000 views on YouTube.
We chose to put together a group of influencers to celebrate the launch that had style, fun, are relatable and have healthy beach lifestyles.
Our influencers include Julie Sarinana of Sincerely Jules, Steph Claire Smith from Australia, and Carmella Rose.
Tell us about the live video segments from the Billabong Women's house. How will it work and what is the goal?
Cathey Curtis: Last year we began experimenting with live video on Instagram and Facebook with our athletes and found the content was well received by the audience.
This year we will be launching a segment called “Whatever with Enever.” Laura Enever is interviewing different athletes and personalities live from the jungle of Pupukea.
It’s intended to be fun - Laura will be asking some questions, playing some games, sharing her incredible personality and that of her guests.
How have the marketing methods and goals evolved over the past few years?
Cathey Curtis: We’ve significantly grown the amount of content and stories we are producing, we’ve embraced influencer marketing, we’re doubling down on sharing our athlete’s lifestyles.
We strive for authenticity, real-ness and relatability, while still being aspirational.
Gaining positive engagement is important, so we look for opportunities to be disruptive and different and to have fun with our audiences. The New Wave video is a great example.
We invest in education to learn more about the digital and social media platforms we communicate on daily.
We challenge ourselves to be proponents of change, to understand and allow metrics to help guide us.
Have there been any other important marketing activations for Billabong Women’s on the North Shore?
Cathey Curtis: We hosted our first ever Surf Party on the Beach in Waikiki, including surfing, a catamaran party boat, beach activations and DJ beach party. (The New Wave product is in stores right now in Hawaii and at important core retailers around the country.)
Our sales and merchandising and design teams are getting together with our local Hawaiian retail partners.
We have been creating several quick turnaround videos and photoshoots around New Wave. We’re working with our influencers and highlighting the broader Spring ’18 product launches.
We are supporting the guys and the launch of the Iggy Pop collection. And we’re holding some athlete education and brainstorming sessions as well. All in all it’s been fun, busy and impactful!
Scott Hargreaves, Global VP of Marketing, Billabong Men’s
Tell us about the collaboration with Iggy Pop and how that campaign is being heavily featured during the Billabong Pipe Masters?
Scott Hargreaves: Following our Warhol collaboration we were approached by Iggy’s representatives to do something together.
Ironically, Iggy was already on our radar, so the stars aligned in that sense. Billabong has a history of partnering with influential bands and artists, so to put together a product collaboration with one of the godfathers of punk was an honor for everyone involved.
Eighties and 90’s surf, and the skate and punk music scenes inspire all the product and narrative.
Furthermore, Iggy loves to wear boardshorts, so naturally the anchor product for the collaboration is boardshorts and it's the lead story for our spring "Life’s Better in Boardshorts" campaign. (The Iggy Pop Collection is currently in stores.)
The campaign is being featured heavily within the Billabong Pipe Masters broadcast along with chapter one of a new content franchise called Unplug.
What was the idea behind the surfboard exhibit at Turtle Bay? What was involved in the project?
Scott Hargreaves: This year during the Billabong Pipe Masters we proudly honored the greats of Pipeline with a surfboard exhibit at Turtle Bay called "Billabong's Salute to Pipeline."
It is a celebration of the surfboards, shapers and surfers who rode the world’s most famous wave. The exhibit opened Sunday with a reception attended by many of the Pipe Masters winners including Kelly Slater, Michael Ho, Joel Parkinson, Mark Occhilupo and Bruce Irons along with Pipe legends Gerry Lopez, Jock Sutherland, and many more Pipe greats.
We’ve also produced a lot of video content to support the individual stories of the boards and the personalities who rode them. The content sits within our video franchise Board Tales and launched in line with the exhibit.
How is Billabong involving the second generation of team riders in the brand and how are you telling their story?
Scott Hargreaves: During this year’s Hawaiian winter we’ve planted a video production team on the North Shore to produce a ton of content around our campaign and the personalities of our athletes.
One in particular we're really excited about is the story of two generations of surfing royalty. The names Occhilupo, Irons and Dorian have helped shape the Billabong brand and we’re really proud to be telling a new Billabong story with sons Jay Occhilupo, Jackson Dorian and Axel Irons.
The trio authentically align to our Bloodlines program and we can’t wait to capture and tell such a unique tale.
How have Billabong’s marketing methods and goals evolved over the past few years?
Scott Hargreaves: The importance of authenticity is more critical than ever. Narrative with a strong, believable thread beats forcing a story. Digital speaks for itself and video content is king.
Marketing techniques that resonate are forever changing so we focus on aligning with the most relevant platforms, technology and overall approach.
Anything else that is an important marketing activation for Pipe Masters?
Scott Hargreaves: The Pipe Masters is shaping up to be one for the record books. This year’s world title battle will ensure the audience is extremely large and naturally we’re looking forward to leveraging those eyeballs and showcasing our brand.