I’ve always been so fascinated with brand power.
Nike, North Face, Patagonia, or any other of the bazillions of brands that pop up in my daily life. What fascinates me is how people so often blindly and willingly buy from a brand without any real indication that they will benefit from choosing one brand over another. Is it peer pressure, a constant bombardment of images and media? Or is it the need to be included, and to feel apart of something that encourages us to associate ourselves with a specific brand? I think it is all of that…
In running, I’ve seen it show up time and time again. A new product pops up, and if it is marketed well, and key runners or elite athletes get behind it–man it doesn’t matter what that product is– because by gosh, people will buy it.
I’ve joked about this crazy phenomena with my friends for some time. I think at one point, I even said people will buy dog crap if it is branded as “excellent running fuel” by the right people.
Don’t believe me? HA. Well listen to this:
Twitter is my social media playground. Not long ago, while I was writing something bogus and ridiculous to my friend and fellow Twitter junkie, @AdventureAmber..of course.. we started tweeting about how we use candy as long run fuel. I joked that I refuse to spend hundreds of dollars on “supremely crafted energy beans” that are made out of what?….sugar.
Somehow the conversation continued with me tweeting this:
“I think I’ll just start eating packs of sugar. It’s cheaper. In fact, I should sell them to others branded as run fuel.”
Then I tweeted this number, “I should sell it at Whole Foods & market it as vegan friendly, non GMO, cruelty free, gluten free & eco happiness friendly.”
Oh..and this… “I will pour 5lbs of walmart sugar into little plastic test tubes. Bam. Recyclable running containers.”
All the while Amber is feeding me on with her HAHAHA’s and witty marketing campaigns. She said we should call it “AA Sugar” representing our (real) AA Adventures Company. And suggested that we should find other athletes who fuel themselves with sugar.
So the hashtag #AAsugar was born.
Eventually it all came to a head, and I wrote one last tweet. It was the tweet heard ’round the running world, and what followed was an absolute, glorious, amazing branding success. And mess…..
“#AASugar is looking for semi decent looking people who are kind of talented to be the faces of a new epic running energy fuel. RT!”
BAM. 10 Retweets (RT) almost instantly. Despite the entire conversation that played out literally right before that tweet, and the obvious proof that no such product or company existed, my twitter account started blowing up with new followers and hopefuls wanting to represent #AASugar.
Oh..my..gosh..freaking hilarious! I quickly called my best friends, Amber and Jen, to tell them that we now had an amazing social experiment on our hands. How far could we take this thing? Pretty dang far…
Tweets started coming in left and right with people from all over telling me that they were “the perfect athlete to represent #AASugar”. I had some telling me that they love AAsugar and have used it to fuel their long runs and won races with it! …What?!!… I had some “fitness experts” saying they’d be happy to brand my product “for a price” ….hahaha. It got better and better with each tweet.
Amber, Jen, Dan and I started tweeting about #AASugar like it was legit. Jen, a pro triathlete, even went as far as to say that she was #FueledByAASugar for her upcoming 508 mile cycling race. People got all crazy over that one.
Some guys said they would even send me videos showing their potential to work for #AASugar…..WOW.
At one point I tweeted out: “What’s your favorite flavor of #AAsugar running fuel?” And lo and behold, these people started tweeting out responses like they actually existed! “Strawberry!” “Raspberry” ” I loooove the chocolate” — Holy crap. Haha.
No website to back up these claims.
No talk of flavors or use.
No anything… Just one freaking tweet.
My direct message box was completely full with request from even people that know me wanting to get involved with my “revolutionary new product”.
I laughed with Jen, Amber, and Dan for at least 10 hours. At least.
Do people really not even care to research a product before they’d be willing to put their name on it?? The “free stuff” mentality is running rampant in the endurance world. A company can send you a small sample of their product for free, tell you you’re an “ambassador” for their brand, and you will go nuts trying to pimp them out on social media and at your races and stuff. It’s crazy when you think about it. It’s good marketing, but they’re preying on the fact that you’ll basically do something for nothing. If you actually do love and use a product someone sends you, then more power to ya. Just be careful you’re not being a blind sheep while attempting to associate with a powerful brand.
A good company/ambassador relationship will provide you with an ample supply of quality product. In return, they will expect you to use their products and occasionally mention them on social media. Other companies will straight up pay you for your blogging and social media advertising if you’ve got an established media platform or popular blog.
The truth is this: Your success as an endurance athlete does not genuinely depend on the shoes on your feet, the clothes on your body, or the accessories you sport. It doesn’t come from the races you do, or the companies you associate with. Endurance comes down to this: YOUR BRAIN. YOUR BODY. Sure, everything else HELPS, but your success is YOUR success.
So no, #AAsugar doesn’t exist. We aren’t sponsoring any epic ultra slamming athletes, nor do we sponsor “semi decent looking people who are kind of athletic”. Of course I ended the tweets about our wonder product before it got out of control. But man, I guaran-freakin-tee you that I could have sold non existing packets of #AASugar to throngs of runners--that is if it wasn’t blatantly wrong and punishable by years rotting behind bars, ha.
So before you turn into someone’s walking billboard, make sure there is something in it for YOU, and that you know and respect the company……. and if all else fails, at least make sure that your brand does indeed exist, and manufacture a real product.
(This post was #FueledByAASugar, thanks for reading.;))
What are your thoughts on brand power in endurance sports? Have any similar stories to share? I love hearing from you guys on Twitter, IG & email, but I appreciate comments & conversation here most!! Post your thoughts below! Thanks!~Ash
32 Replies to “#AASugar- Would You Buy It?”
Ahahahahahahahah long live #AAsugar!
I may be biased as your friend, but you ARE a woman of many talents. Thanks for making my night with this well written, hysterical post.
Thanks dange! I know I can always at least make you laugh… Hahah
I was loving this when the banter was going on!!! It’s incredible what people are willing to do to their bodies.
Lol! It was definitely a lot of fun, and interesting for sure:)) thanks for commenting!
I admit, I was one of the ones fooled by the product. This is terribly funny! You are right. We are all eager to associate with a brand! Thanks for a fun filled afternoon of reading.
Ahhhh I’m sorry! Hahah it is pretty eye opening though, isn’t it?!? I’ve done the same type of things.. I won’t lie!
Oh man. Serious LULZ! Sorry that I can’t pimp AASugar, but I will pimp this post. Freaking. Genius.
Haha thanks for pimping my post! I’ve been enjoying your blog, btw:)
Well, high praise indeed. I appreciate it! #AASugar. Oh man. This was the happy read of the day.
I’m 58, and my Great Grandmother used to say that the American people are the most gullible people on earth. I was not surprised in the least about the response you got!
Hope you get out of your running doldrums real soon. I just got off a 7 week layoff due to injury and on top of that had to drop from my first marathon attempt. I started running again a week ago; very slowly and very carefully. I learned my lesson about training like I was 30 years younger. Perhaps something that will really remind you of those early days when running was awesome and you couldn’t get enough. Crave the Run!
Hi Kent! Love it when you comment! thanks! yes I agree that Americans are pretty gullible, haha. I’m happy to hear that you are running again! That’s good news. Hope you are enjoying training now!
That was awesome. The Emperor’s New Fuel! The more marketing and brand hype I see, the more I crave tap water and thrift store running shoes.
Hahahaha i Iove it. Same here!!!!!!
Wow! That’s pretty hysterical! I think this is one hell of a social media experiment. And I love it just happened naturally… food (or sugar) for thought that’s for sure! Nice work!
LOL thx mindy, yeah you cant make this crap up. Haha! Thx for reading:)
You really could brand dog crap as chocolate running fuel and it would sell like hot cakes!
LMBO nasty. But true!
This is sadtastic (sad and fantastic all at once). What a cool experiment. You had to be laughing your butt off.
P.S. When can we get the new caffeinated cola flavor?
Sadtastic!!!! YES next awesome word. Hahahaha caffeinated cola flavor will be available around Christmas, but we’re taking preorders now!!!
Well this is nothing if not entertaining!
Always happy to provide some entertainment;)
Gotta admit I fell for it, lol. As an Ultra runner, time is so consumed with a full time job and training that you have little time to think. Freebees are totally welcome but good point on researching before you volunteer. I’m pretty sure there in a guy in CLT doing the same social experiment as you…but hey you know what cheap asses we Ultra runners can be 🙂
Hahhaa you’re right us ultrarunners are broke moochers for the most part..,, maybe I should add that to my theory!!!! 🙂 thx for commenting Anji!!!
I actually tried to direct message you when I looked back through all of your tweets and saw you were looking for people. But either my or your twitter account was messed up because I could never get in touch with you 😦 😦 I feel sad that I was fooled into thinking this was a real product though, as I was ready to invest my life savings into you. Because I believe in you! 🙂 I always have and always will 😉 I saw your instagram pictures today. Skiddledeedoo, I got a rungasm! You told me a while ago, but it slipped my mind, when your next race is. Let me know and I’m there 🙂 Yowzers! 🙂 🙂 😉 😉 🙂 🙂 🙂
A “Rungasm” what thaaaaaaa?!!!! C’mon really?!!!!
wow little creepy man. Ever think “blocked”
Maybe you can try something similar aimed at all the bogus “nutritionists” out there?
Lol! Got any recommendations?
You know, I can believe it. What an eye opening social experiment you fell into. It plagues most of our society. It not only shows the willingness to blindly promote and use a product, it also shows how many people are desperate for “sponsorship” living the dream that only really 1/10th of 1% of runners enjoy. The idea of free or comped entries thanks to AAsugar. Do they really care what it is as long as they get something for free? Or is it as the creepy dude said, people really really want to do what you do because its you? Do people buy into a product because of the product or is it a chance to share something in common with their favorite (enter figure here)? Interesting stuff. Sorry, you’d never make money on me, not that I won’t try a sugar packet on my next long run though lol.