Outdoor Company Yeti Celebrates Father’s Day With Emotional Video Series

How dads shape a love of nature to their kids

Headshot of Christine Birkner

Many outdoor enthusiasts developed their passions for hunting or fishing by learning from their dads. Last week, Yeti, maker of coolers and other outdoor gear, launched "My Old Man," a mini-documentary series that celebrates fatherhood and its role in outdoor pursuits.

The subjects in Yeti's six to eight-minute videos, which launched last week, all represent demographics within the brand's target audiences. "We wanted to connect with our core audience over their shared passions," said Sara Kenton, senior director of digital at Yeti.

Over footage of hunting trips in Hawaii with his young son, pro surfer Shane Dorian talks about how he took fewer risks in surfing after becoming a father of two and discusses how he's passing his hunting techniques along to his son. Musician J.T. Van Zandt talks about how the absence of his father throughout his childhood inspired him to take up fly fishing and woodworking.

Hilary Hutcheson, fly fishing guide and host of Trout TV, discusses her life growing up as the daughter of former park rangers in Montana's Glacier National Park, and teaches her father about fly fishing. Former NFL player Jordan Shipley, who now hosts hunting shows on the Outdoor Channel, talks about how his father helped mentor him as coach of his Texas high school football team.

The final video shows how Yeti's co-founders, Roy and Ryan Seiders, were inspired by their father, a fisherman and high school shop teacher, to love the outdoors and to be entrepreneurs.

"They've all carved out interesting careers, and all of them had something different to say about being a son or daughter or mother or father," said Scott Ballew, head of content at Yeti. "It was important for us to get well-rounded stories where people can see something that reminds them of themselves."

The long-form video series also helps Yeti connect with its consumers in a more meaningful way, said John Muszynski, CIO of Mediavest Spark, which worked with Yeti on the campaign.

"The series shows the value of what premium storytelling is all about," he said. "They're creating a personality and aura of the brand without overt product placement, and it's really powerful."

The videos are helping Yeti grab consumers' attention in a way that traditional advertising can't, Kenton said. "We're using [videos] to tell stories that have a real human factor that connects with our core audience, and to a larger audience," she said. "We've gotten fantastic feedback so far. It's hit an emotional chord with consumers that you don't get from a traditional ad campaign."

@ChristineBirkne christine.birkner@adweek.com Christine Birkner is a Chicago-based freelance writer who covers marketing and advertising.