Yeti Maps Uncharted Territory With Google Street View

The project gives would-be adventurers a guide for getting off the beaten track

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For those who think there’s no such thing as uncharted territory these days, here’s a validating stat: Google has mapped 98% of the world, covering more than 10 million miles with Street View.

But what about the remaining 2%? It’s safe to say that sliver is fairly rugged real estate, so to Yeti, it looked like a challenge waiting to be accepted. 

To scout out that final frontier, the legacy brand—maker of sturdy coolers and stainless steel drinkware—has launched the “Mapping the Gaps” campaign, sending 15 of its ambassadors to document trails less traveled in picturesque places around the world. A second phase of the effort invites consumers to do the same.

So far, Yeti’s athletes have traveled through rainforests in British Columbia, remote hillsides in Australia and desert landscapes in Santa Fe, with coordinates now available on Google Street View. The work, done in-house, is central to Yeti’s mission of urging more would-be adventurers to head outdoors.

“For many people, it’s intimidating to just pack up and go on a trail—so how could we give them a preview or a shot of confidence to get out there?” Paulie Dery, the brand’s CMO, told Adweek. “By mapping the best trails that Google wasn’t able to.”

a woman with a yeti backpack walking into the forest
Yeti’s site experience gives consumers a sneak peek into newly charted territory.

The project—under the tagline “Where the street ends, the journey begins”—coincides with the debut of the Hopper line of backpack coolers, which are featured prominently in the ambassador content.

In addition to using the map project as a real-world product demo, Yeti is also tapping into the massive power of Google Street View, in essence hacking a digital platform of 8 billion monthly users for organic exposure.

Yeti’s campaign comes as an increasing number of brands dig further into experiential marketing as a way to engage consumers. Meantime, programs like all-terrain vehicle maker BRP and agency Touché’s “Uncharted Playgrounds aim to match up outdoor enthusiasts with off-the-beaten-path environs.

Trial on the trail

Brainstorming the “Mapping the Gaps” concept was one thing, but Yeti’s in-house creative and marketing teams had to marry the idea with the existing Google technology, which turned out to be more seamless than they expected.

As a trial run, employees gathered footage of an unmarked path on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, where the company is based. They then fed it into Google’s open API.

“Once we were able to successfully upload it to Google Street View, we knew we were on,” Dery said.

This came after internal discussions about leaning into tech at all, when one of the main selling points for being outdoors is unplugging from screens and devices. “We decided leveraging technology to help more people get out in the wild is a good thing,” Dery said.

In their shoes

To generate the content, Dery’s team gave wide latitude to its ambassadors, including pro snowboarder Robin Van Gyn, who mapped the densely forested Vancouver Island, and decorated mountaineer Conrad Anker, who took a trip through Beehive Basin in Big Sky, Montana.

Each hiker was armed with a Hopper cooler, enough provisions for a daylong trek and 360-degree GoPro cameras to capture the scope of their hikes and the surrounding nature. 

Viewers can tag along with the ambassadors via Yeti’s site experience to get a sneak peek of the trails. They can also tackle any trek themselves through the Google coordinates.

And for those who want to contribute their own adventures, Yeti has written how-to instructions on its site and media channels.

“We hope the general public will upload their own trails, and this starts a movement of having great trails living on Google forever, Dery said.

The brand is promoting “Mapping the Gaps” through print ads, in-store signage, digital media and its owned social platforms.

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