By the minneapolis egotist / /
No prize trophy for recognizing that fishing, one of the great outdoor American pastimes has been struggling to reel in new, young consumers to the sport. According to PEW Research, participation in fishing is sharply down with the Millennial generation – just 12 percent compared to Generation X (19.1 percent) and Baby Boomers (almost 30 percent). Now a bold new campaign from Zebco, one of America’s favorite fishing brands, is aiming to change all of that, using one of the most iconic TV theme songs of all time to hook a new generation of more incidental, social anglers.
The campaign, Catch On uses as a soundtrack, the whistled theme tune to the famed 1960s The Andy Griffith Show*, one of the catchiest songs in the history of television, that played over images of Andy and son strolling with fishing rods. A series of 60, 30 and 15-second videos depict sun-dappled, vibrantly colored excursions with the aim of showing fishing today as something anyone can enjoy, almost anywhere. A camping trip. A bike ride along the river. A Friday afternoon unexpectedly cut loose from work. It requires neither years of experience nor a ton of time.
“Studies show the way Millennials and other young consumers interact with the outdoors has radically changed,” says Dave Johns, vice president, marketing, Zebco. “For people 16-34 it’s about experiencing the outdoors, about being there with friends and family and less about a goal or mission: solo hiking or standing alone in the river casting a line all day like their grandparents.
“We knew right away that we had to recast fishing as the accessible, social pastime that it is and also evolve the way in which the hobby is portrayed in the media. If you look back at fishing ads over the decades, many will show guys shot from behind: zero emotion, no interaction, just quietly casting a line. That’s not fun. So we re-imagined what fishing looks like today for this new generation.”
Zebco started with an update to “The Fishin’ Hole”, the Andy Griffith theme song, which has long-forgotten lyrics. Twin Cities’ indie/alternative band, Bad Bad Hats, themselves Millennials, heard about the project conceived and led by Zebco’s brand agency, Modern Climate, and raised their hands to get involved. Their re-recording of the original track with lyrics is a modern-day take on the nostalgic classic and can be seen in a special behind-the-scenes documentary here.
Catch On also updates the visual look of fishing for Millennial and younger generations. Gone are Norman Rockwell images of grandpas spending long summer days handing down to their grandkids the art of fishing. Lifestyle videos feature instead a mix of casual fishers from all walks of life, skipping stones, hanging out with friends, carrying rods on the back of their bikes, to lakeside campsites and even in urban rivers with the city skyline as a distant backdrop. Very few images even show the traditional category money shot: a solo angler with a fish on the line.
“This is one of the best-known TV tunes of any generation,” says Doug deGrood, Creative Chairman and co-creative lead, Modern Climate. “Even tweens can whistle it, which shows a massive amount of pop culture equity.
“There really was no other choice of track. Recording the song itself is really emblematic of what the whole campaign is attempting to do: tap into nostalgia for iconic moments of our own collective youth but bring them up to date for the way people spend their leisure time and socialize in the great outdoors today.”
Other campaign elements include curated lay-flat images and “gear checklists” of today’s fishing gear: flip flops, sunscreen and a rod. No waders in site. An updated Zebco.com website is relaunched as a place to explore fishing as an accessible lifestyle activity that can be part of camping, kayaking trips or other outdoor activities.
Next up: Zebco will invite people to submit a video of themselves whistling the catchy song on their social media channels. A special invitation to take part will also go out to Ron Howard, who played Opie, Andy’s son in The Andy Griffith Show.