Marmot’s VP of marketing Tom Fritz discusses why he thinks the brand’s first-ever Super Bowl ad has a ‘very good chance’ of being a hit

Outdoor clothing company Marmot is making its Super Bowl debut this year with a playful 30-second spot created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

The California-based brand has released some teaser videos (see one above) to pique interest ahead of game day but will not air the actual spot until the Denver Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers on Feb. 7.

Besides rolling out teasers, Marmot is also sponsoring weather reports on CBS Sports the week before the game. After its 30-second ad plays during the Super Bowl, a one-minute version will become available on its website.

Marmot is owned by Jarden Corporation, which owns a number of other brands including camping gear company Coleman and Yankee Candle.

The Drum spoke with Marmot’s vice president of marketing Tom Fritz to hear more about the research that went into creating the brand’s first Super Bowl ad and why he thinks the lighthearted spot – which features an animated marmot, or large squirrel - will be a hit.

Why do you think Marmot’s Super Bowl ad will stand out?

It will stand out for a couple of different reasons. It will stand out definitely within our industry even though I don’t believe anyone within the outdoor industry will be advertising during the Super Bowl. But for anybody that is familiar with outdoor industry advertising, it will definitely stand out cause it is extraordinarily different from the advertising you typically see. From a Super Bowl standpoint, we’ve done quite a bit of studying of the various Super Bowl spots that have been successful in recent times, and we think this one stands a very good chance of being a hit and having America fall in love with the marmot because of the production values and the quality that Goodby Silverstein put into this spot.

What kind of research did you do?

It was qualitative research. Understanding who has advertised and what they have advertised over the last number of years, getting a feel for what the press and other writers thought were the top spots, getting a feel for what consumers talked about and engaged with and just exactly what appeals to the consumer who watches the Super Bowl. That’s not our only goal with the spot but we absolutely want this spot to be noticed, talked about and mentioned for quite a while after the Super Bowl.

Do you think you’ll become a regular Super Bowl advertiser or is this something you’re just trying out?

I would say that’s completely to be determined. We’ll see how this one goes and go from there.

Why did you choose to use humor in your debut ad?

It’s more consistent with the Marmot brand and the way we see the brand. Marmot has been around since 1974 and it was started by a couple of college students and honestly the brand has had a sense of humor for a long, long time. While we can also take our gear very seriously, we don’t take ourselves that seriously. As a company we have a tremendous sense of humor and we want that to be reflected in this commercial. We’re more the approachable, friendly and fun company than we are the stern, sinister company.

How can you justify paying approximately $5m for this ad? In other words, why is this such a crucial move for Marmot?

It is a move that is strongly supported by our parent company, which is Jarden Corporation. Jarden felt that this could be a great move for the Marmot brand because of our size and place in the market and the opportunity to reach a hundred million people at one point in time. With that kind of support from a large parent corporation, it enabled us to do it.

How does advertising in the Super Bowl energize and excite your team internally?

Interestingly enough we are having a party at Marmot in a few days to share with everyone within the company what this whole program looks like and what the spot looks like before the rest of America sees it. So it is all forming right now for the company, and those people that are aware and involved in the project are super jazzed as one could expect because it’s not very often you get to work on a Super Bowl program.

Last question. What team will you be rooting for?

That’s a tough one. The Chicago Bears and the San Francisco 49ers but unfortunately neither of them are in it. I spent half of my life in Chicago and half my life in the San Francisco area so it doesn’t matter much to me. I’m just glad it’s two fun teams to watch.

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