As wakeboarding declined over the past decade so did interest in its flagship boat, the MasterCraft Star. Here’s how we beat the indifference, got heart rates soaring and caused a factory crisis to successfully launch the 2018 XStar.
For most previous campaigns we rolled everything out on launch day. This time would be different: three phases rolled out over three months—each leaning on a fanbase hungry for the new and a blue chip group of athletes dedicated to pushing the sport forward. Oh, and most importantly, a really killer wakeboard boat.
The end result is that we helped MasterCraft sell the XStar 2600% faster than its previous iteration. You read that right. Two. Thousand. Six. Hundred. Percent.
This is the next first.
To get the goods, we loaded up the MasterCraft wake team and gave them one direction: do the impossible. Grab the handle and make your next first. The boat performed beyond what any of us expected or could even imagine—rolling out massive wakes bigger than anything any of us had ever seen—and the athletes performed even better. They sacrificed their bodies, broke themselves off and ultimately pulled off the never been done before. After our shoot, we knew we had something special so we treated the video and images with a stark, mean black and white look that was unique for the brand and the industry.
It’s almost impossible to undersell how much the XStar and wake boarding were synonymous over the years. You could hardly have one without the other. It’s the boat that helped to define the sport. Before even announcing that something new was coming, we wanted to solidify that partnership in people’s minds. So we took over the XStar product page—our most trafficked page on mastercraft.com—with a historical overview of all of wakeboarding’s firsts, bests and holy shits that have happened behind this iconic boat. It painted a powerful picture—you can’t argue with history—and reminded people that this is what we mean when we say wakeboarding.
To get people talking we released obfuscating teaser videos across our most engaged channels to hint that not only was something big coming, but also something that feels entirely new. Along with the product page takeover, people were beginning to put the pieces together and the stoke levels were rising.
And then, the full launch. Featuring a video replete with music as heavy hitting as the wakeboarding in it, not to mention the fog enshrouded product photography and the new high-contrast look, the 2018 XStar rolled out loud and proud. Immediately, the conversation shifted. People were paying attention to the XStar again and understood how truly different and high performing this new model is. The proof was in the impossible tricks featured in the rollout, the wicked big wake and the orders that started stacking up. Everyone wanted one.
Within weeks, MasterCraft had completely sold out of the new XStar. The factory couldn’t physically produce enough XStars to meet the demand—even as they upgraded the tooling and increased production—so much so that we got an ecstatic call from our client telling us to stop the media buy. Don’t roll out anything else because there is just no way to keep up with how many people want this boat.
That’s right, advertising that worked too well.