AdWeek reported yesterday that GoPro will award cash prizes on a weekly basis to users who generate some of the best content. The piece notes:
“This is not a contest or gimmick—it’s an ongoing campaign,” said Zander Lurie, svp of entertainment at GoPro. “We envision that a key component of our strategy will be to share revenue with our user.”
And, I might add, “to solidify GoPro’s long-run position as the place to share extreme sports content.”
GoPro has built an formidable brand. It’s the go-to name in extreme sports documentation, and has become sort of a catch-all for that type of daring video capture. It is synonymous with adventure sports in the way that Kleenex and Xerox bring to mind tissues and photocopiers, albeit with more sex appeal and fewer paper jams.
As I’ve written in the past, GoPro is also a surprising business. CEO Nick Woodford built a successful and phenomenally popular standalone camera company in the midst of a smartphone revolution that eviscerated demand for all other single-use consumer electronics. GoPro faces an eventual challenge from waterproof and shockproof iPhone cases, as well as the rapidly-improving optics and playback quality in said iPhones. Back in May, I wrote an article comparing FitBit’s IPO to GoPro’s:
GoPro has developed a following – and to a certain extent, a lifestyle – that makes the media its fans produce worth almost as much as the devices themselves. Indeed, even if GoPro were to eventually exit the camera business altogether and just make ski-themed apps or iPhone harnesses for extreme sports, the brand would still live on, if only as an extremely successful YouTube channel.
I might amend my previous piece, and note that GoPro’s fan-generated content need not exist on YouTube. Facebook has proved that users will upload to whatever platform is easiest, and GoPro’s loyal fan base – now incentivized by weekly prizes – will become a real part of the company’s advertising model. Uploads will yield more views, which will spur more uploads. The $5 million GoPro has set aside will undoubtedly generate more impressions, engagement, and ultimately, camera sales, than any other advertising could.