Columbia Sportswear introduces Omni-Heat with social 'Ice Pics'

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Columbia Sportswear is using a variety of direct and experiential marketing efforts to boost traditional media as part of its latest product launch.
 
The active apparel company is producing traditional TV spots and print ads to introduce Omni-Heat, a reflective liner technology that allows clothes to regulate body temperature without adding bulk. But the effort also includes a significant slate of digital, events and in-store marketing efforts.
 
Besides six 30-second TV spots, which will also appear online in sites including the Columbia YouTube channel, the campaign will also feature the microsite www.columbia.com/omni-heat and mobile media effort with AdMob and NBC that will use targeted messaging to drive users to the microsite. A social media program called "Ice Pics" will ask Facebook fans to send photos of themselves wearing Omni-Heat products and award weekly prizes.
 
“We're trying to reach a younger audience, but social media also allows us an opportunity for dialog that other media does not,” said a Columbia spokeswoman.
 
The experiential marketing efforts will include training clinics for store associates around the country and The Freezer Tour, a traveling experience where participants can test the Omni-Heat products inside The Coldfessional, a large freezer where they are recorded singing karaoke in the cold. The videos are then e-mailed to them, so they can share them on social media.

Columbia says this is the largest marketing effort in its history, but the company spokeswoman would not disclose the spending figures. 

“We knew from the start that this was a technology we wanted consumers to experience firsthand because you can not only see but feel the technology,” said the spokeswoman. “So we created an experience that allows consumers to do this and have a blast in the process.”
 
Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, Columbia's agency, is handling the creative and media planning for TV, print and online media, while event management company BeCore handles The Freezer Tour.
 
 
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