Matthews/Mark’s ‘Epic’ Adventure

Trade Ads the First Expedition for Nextec’s New Fabric Technology
LOS ANGELES–Working from scratch to brand a new fabric technology, Matthews/Mark has created a trade print campaign introducing the “ingredient” product to the outdoor enthusiast market.
The technology, dubbed Epic, developed by Nextec Applications in Chicago, uses “encapsulated” fibers to make fabric more water resistant and durable, but still lightweight and breathable. Instead of filling its first ads for Epic with science talk, though, the San Diego agency is trying to establish an early emotional connection to the brand in the market.
“You can say to the scientists, ‘You make a great product.’ But the world doesn’t care,” said Michael Mark, the agency’s president and chief creative officer. “You’ve got to give people something to care about.”
To get outdoor enthusiasts to care, then, the agency put the product right where they play: on the slopes, the rock face and the river. Three ads show, in turn, a snowboarder, rock climber and kayaker, each negotiating the curves on a piece of colored fabric that’s rumpled to look like terrain.
The Epic logo, which M/M also created, lies in the lower left-hand corner.
“We wanted to make the fabric part of the fun,” Mark explained, and let the trade audience know the technology isn’t remote, but can actually “let [consumers] have a better time.”
Attached to the ads is a card that explains the science behind Epic. A diagram shows the basic physics, while copy assures that “there’s never been anything like it.”
The ads broke last month in trade publications including Sporting Goods Business, Outdoor Retailer and Sportstyle. Billings are undisclosed, although Mark did say the client plans “aggressive spending” in the category.
For the next step in the campaign, M/M is creating labels, hang tags and zipper tags for apparel that’s been treated with Epic. Among the retailers that have signed on is Patagonia, which is using the technology under the name Encapsil in much of its 1999 and 2000 performance outerwear.
A consumer campaign for the client is planned for next year.
“We feel [the creative concept] is a fresh idea … and flexible enough for different situations,” said M/M associate creative director Mark Albertazzi.