What do Kalbarri and Coca-Cola have in common?
By now you'll have heard about the WSL making a bid at Western Australia's desert coast. Margaret River has been problematic but Surfing WA still wants to hold onto its contest.
The solution? Shift it north to Kalbarri or the Bluff.
Even though the WSL has released its 2019 schedule and Margs is penned in, the word on the street is that the talks are far from over. The north-west is in their sights, if not next year then the year after.
The thought of a contest up north is getting the locals uppity, they're preparing for a battle, and the early salvos have been launched on social media. A common response from those indifferent to the move is that Jakes and the Bluff are hardly secret spots so who cares if the WSL sets up tent.
Which seems like a valid response...till you pour some thought into that cup.
Allow me to do just that and I'll start with Coca-Cola.
Coke is not only the most popular soft drink in the world, it's one of the most recognisable brands in the world. At one time, the most recognisable brand. So popular is it that, theoretically, Coca-Cola doesn't have to reach out to anyone because everyone knows what it is. And yet a funny thing happens when Coke campaigns are launched around the world.
Their sales go up.
So if sales of Coke go up after an ad campaign, then its popularity isn't a matter of knowing or not knowing what Coca-Cola is. It's simply a matter of having Coca-Cola flashed in front of people's eyes.
In other words, it's the power of advertising.
Can you see where this is going?
Every surfer knows about Jakes and the Bluff. They aren't secret spots. To surfers they're as well known as Coca-Cola, yet in recent years they've been afforded a large degree of media protection owing to their status as outposts. Places surfers can go to unwind, get away from crowds and enjoy some desert therapy.
And the power of advertising would destroy all that.
Exposing...or should I say, re-exposing, Jakes and the Bluff to a worldwide surfing market will have the same effect as a Coca-Cola ad on a thirsty audience. It doesn't matter if it's a secret or not, that's not how advertising works, it's the repetitive messaging that changes our agency. Puts it front of mind and ready to act upon. Any advertising flunky will agree with me here.
Right now, Kalbarri Boardriders, National Surf Reserves, and a bunch of good people are preparing a statement against the WSL's move north. The issues they're raising are valid and tangible: environmental damage and the like. Exposure of the spots is getting less weight as it's a hard metric to quantify.
However, if you surf there, or if you hope to in the future, you'd do well to consider the power of advertising and how it'll increase the numbers in the water up north. And in turn how that will change the complexion of a very special coastline.