Gear Drop launches ‘sick’ viral campaign

Hockey gear clean-up company gets attention with shocking viral ads featuring vomiting players.

Gear Drop, a service that stores and dries hockey equipment for amateur players in Burnaby, B.C., is using shock value in a viral video and poster campaign. Vancouver-based agency Rethink created ‘Gear Stink’ videos featuring hockey players vomiting from the smell of their own gear. They also created posters with images such as a player using his knocked-out teeth to plug his nose and a goalie in a gas mask, as well as a cut-out featuring a vomiting hockey wife to be placed in garbage cans.

Using viral videos and posters made sense to Jill Kenney, founder of Gear Drop, because it allowed the company to target their very specific market – the 5,000 players who hit the ice each winter at the Burnaby 8 Rinks.

The videos, which are embedded on the Gear Drop website, were sent out in emails to existing clients in August. They quickly developed a following, and were forwarded through emails and posted on YouTube. ‘You get so much coming through your email and on the Internet now that it really has to stand out for people to send it forward,’ Kenney tells MiC. ‘This market, 18- to 40-year-old hockey players, is one that you can be a little more crass with and have a lot of fun with.’ The posters were also a hit – 70% of them disappeared from the walls of the dressing rooms within the first four days.

The campaign has been a huge success for Gear Drop so far – only a month into the hockey season, the company has already surpassed last year’s sales. They plan on continuing the campaign next year with new videos highlighting other reasons to hand over your stinky gear.