GoPro Launches Its First Scripted TV Ad, Part of Its Biggest Global Campaign to Date

But it still incorporates user-generated content

For years, GoPro has taken a user-centric approach to its advertising, packaging submitted content for TV spots that have run everywhere from YouTube to the Super Bowl.

But today, it's launching its first scripted TV spot, which is part of its largest campaign yet that's rolling out on a global scale. TV spots will run in the U.S., Spain, Germany, France, Korea, Australia and other markets. And there's an accompanying global campaign aimed at creating around 1.4 billion impressions. The campaign is a combination of regional and national ad buys, with the first spot airing today before ramping up Friday and then airing in prime time during Sunday Night Football.

According to GoPro svp of marketing Bryan Johnston, the campaign is meant to reflect the diversity of the brand's users over the past few years, as its core user base grows from being adventure-seeking people documenting the great outdoors to a camera that can be used by anyone.

"If we succeed, then we create thousands upon thousands upon millions of 21st-century storytellers," Johnston told Adweek.

The spot begins with a scene showing dozens of people in the desert taking photos of a sunset, their smartphones creating a shadow across their faces.

A narrator then challenges the viewer about what they're really doing: "Is this being in the moment? Is this hanging out? And is this really playing with your kid? Don't stop what you're doing to capture what you're doing. Just keep doing."

The broader campaign will roll out throughout the rest of November. Then, in December and in the first quarter of 2017, GoPro plans will launch another three 30-second spots across digital channels focusing on different aspects of the business—software, storage and apps. The goal is to target based on whether someone is already a GoPro user or not. For example, a future video in Australia will be aimed at getting teenage girls thinking about how to upload and share their lives with GoPro. A spot in Germany will target fathers in their mid-30s who want to catch their daughters' soccer games.

The new spot is actually a combination of both scripted, produced footage and user-generated content. The beginning and end are meant to look like the kind of stuff GoPro users would typically do, before blending into curated content. While GoPro created the spot in house, Johnston credited Goodby, Silverstein & Partners helping out. It was the first time GoPro worked with an agency, and while Goodby didn't directly work on the spot, its insight was a catalyst for considering moving into scripted spots. 

"We're a camera, so I like to say they helped us open the aperture," Johnston said.

Johnston said the campaign is a natural evolution for the brand, as it grows not just in in terms of its product offerings, but also in accessibility. GoPro is now in around twice as many countries as it was in just a couple years ago.

"When you're using a GoPro, you're usually inside a moment and capture a unique perspective," Johnston said. "And so the concept on the commercial was really trying to get people to think about the idea of what does life look like when you are actually wearing the device, capturing the experience. It's ultimately a much more emotional experience than standing on the sidelines and watching it."