Today Strava, launched a marketing campaign entitled ‘Athletes Unfiltered,’ a direct call for athletes to be themselves, celebrate the inclusivity of sport, their hard work and reject the curation and negativity found on other social networks.
The campaign kicks off with a short film. The film features everyday members of the Strava community sharing raw, uncurated up and down images of them and their sport. The idea is that the images and film show that sport has a powerful ability to unite during a moment in time when, for some, it seems little else can.
Strava is asking its athletes to go against the grain (as athletes tend to do) by posting anti-filter photos, showing off awkward tan lines, flushed post-workout selfies, filthy hands, or just the unfettered joy of getting through a big day out. Strava is encouraging its community to forget about what people think, tag posts with #AthletesUnfiltered, and bring each other together with raw and ridiculous photos of the sports we love.
Harx Kalsi, a London-based runner (Run Dem Crew salutes) and Strava member, said: “I show off me, this is me. I have rubbish runs, I have great runs, like, this is what happens. This is who I am, and I am sharing that with you, whether you like it or not. I think it’s also showing other runners and cyclists, that you should just be yourself, you don’t need to be crazy, you don’t need to be doing mad miles, or you don’t need to be running this quick. Just have fun with it.”
As a marketeer myself the campaign resonated with me for a couple of reasons. Firstly it is a genuine attempt to bring people together. There are several companies and corporations – mostly in the US – who have addressed that the current socio-political climate is divisive and are trying to find the right ways to show that they care. Strava’s message here seems genuine (for examples of what doesn’t, ask Pepsi…).
Secondly the campaign is appealing as it is not using elite performers in its images or video when it talks of ‘athletes’. Anyone can be an athlete, anyone can perform against themselves, anyone can become involved in an athletic pursuit, you don’t have to offer a beautifully crafted, sponsored image of yourself to prove it.
Lastly, and this is a Strava product problem, the accessibility message it is offering is reaching out to those people who might be reluctant to engage with the platform because they see its data driven metrics as competitively and therefore a deterrent to participation. Strava is saying here that it is a community as much as it is a performance tool. That is going to resonate with the many and not the few, who’s motive in accessing sport is participation, not performance.