Gravel cycling - road cycling and mountain biking’s accessible, adventurous cousin - is having a proper moment. As with, say, surfing and trail running, the appeal is obvious: an easy route to adventure on your doorstep, and a simple way of imagining your immediate surroundings anew.
During lockdown, it’s been a godsend for many members of the ACM team. Which is why creating a complex, multi-channel content and social campaign extolling the virtues of gravel riding to support the launch of adidas’s new Gravel Shoe has been such a creatively and culturally satisfying project to work on.
Campaigns of this type generally have two things in common.
The first is the need to tell a story that appeals to both core and mainstream audiences - without diluting the message to the point that it becomes culturally worthless. At ACM, this has always been our core mission as an agency, and the number one reason why prestigious brands like adidas, Arc’teryx and Danner (for whom tone, positioning and sympathetically communicating with key audiences is obviously so crucial) choose to work with us.
The second is the need to ensure you choose the right means by which to communicate your creative and cultural vision. That’s why, for this campaign, we chose to collaborate with friends and partners such as the 5th Floor, Steel City Media and photographer Duncan Philpott.
The result is a multi-channel digital and content campaign (see the imagery in the video below, as well as this blog) that tells the tale of gravel riding and its benefits through the personal story of 5th Floor rider Emma Bentley, and which promotes the joy of gravel in a way that we know from personal experience is honest and - yes - authentic.