This post originally appeared at sassbrassnbullets.com and is reprinted here with permission.
Hi, my name is Diana Hufstedler. You may know me as the team TTI 3-Gunner who likes fashion or the potty-mouth blogger who tells it as it is. But in my 8 to 5 job I’m a marketer, and a good one (tell my boss). Today I will reveal to you the secret recipe to a killer marketing campaign & will bring you behind the scenes of the 5.11 Media production that can easily be described as the photoshoot of the century! . . .
1. Start with 7 Kick-ass Female 3-Gun Competitors
Sure, you can hire models. But where is the fun in that? First of all, viewers are not stupid – they can spot a phony from a mile away. Second, it will build your credibility & prove your products really are designed for running & gunning, because that’s what we really do. Last, but not least, your pretty pictures will actually say something. Female shooters have long battled stereotypes: either we were perceived as manly tomboys or gun bunnies posing with firearms in their bikini (nothing against that, I love a hot gal with a smoking gun as much as the next guy). However, the fact is, many of us are serious shooters & competitors who leave most men in the dust. Funny thing is, until recently, the firearms industry not only fueled the misunderstandings, they ignored one of the fastest growing segments – women! Not anymore.
2. Hire a Killer Production Crew
Enter 5.11 Tactical & the 5.11 Media crew (with team members who produced some of the best gun shows on the Discovery Channel) for a production that will blow your mind! There is a reason the photos you took with your cell in the garage, *cough* office, looked like crap. Simple, really, if you want high quality anything – hire professionals! So, to the point: a couple of weeks ago Taran Butler, a multiple world champion & TV personality, who also owns Taran Tactical Innovations (a top-notch provider of gunsmithing services & shooting accessories and the first & ONLY company with a largely female-dominated shooting team, myself included) teamed up with the leader in tactical apparel & gear – 5.11 Tactical, for a photo/video shoot in the Hollywood Hills just outside LA that can make even the most battle-hardened dude blush & sweat with excitement. And (still pinching myself), I got to be a part of it!
3. Add Drama
No, not THAT kind of drama (if you want that – go back to the models). Striking sunsets, high contrast, rumbling skies, extreme angles, hero shots, badass guns, a shootout (or shot-out) car, the rugged desert & the juxtaposition of a traditionally very manly sport and the ultra-femininity of the women 3-Gunners. If you are not familiar with the athletic discipline of 3 Gun – let me enlighten you: it is a grueling, adrenaline-filled sport, which requires skill, speed, power & accuracy with all 3 firearms – pistol, rifle & shotgun. It takes the concept of “run & gun” to a whole new level and females have been fighting with blood, sweat & tears for their place. “Femme Fatale”, indeed (yep, that really is the working title of the campaign for 5.11’s new women’s line)!
4. Slow Motion For Me
No self-respecting promo video is complete without slow motion. You wanna make even the most trivial of things (like arriving at the range or double-tapping 3 targets in a row) look super cool – slow-motion it. Bam, you just went from “I blinked & missed it” to “Reservoir Dogs & “The Matrix”! Plus, brass flying at the camera just brings the viewer in on the action like nothing else. Want to kick it up a notch? Add a smoke machine and you’ve officially entered into super badassery (admit you like my made-up-words).
5. Make It Rain Brass
Duh, I should have started with this one! And rain brass it did; as a matter of fact I feel sorry for whoever had to pick it up after we were done. Let me tell ya, none of us had a clue we were about to change history for women shooters. We were just a bunch of friends who got together to do what we do best – shoot a lot & do it really, really fast! Photographers, cameramen, art directors & stylists followed. There was laughter, jokes, goofing off & even some friendly competition. Next thing you know – magic happened! There were hero shots, product close-ups (of course), real action video, a shoot-house with multiple high-tech cameras at weird angles and even a gag reel. The truth is, it was good because it was genuine, because we all love the smell of gun powder more than that of our morning coffee… The final result – dunno, what I’m sharing is all I’ve got but it MUST BE EPIC because 5.11 is keeping the final promo top-secret until spring! Ah, the anticipation…
All in all, we worked hard ( I know, somebody had to do it, lol) – shot from sunrise to sunset for 3 days straight. We were cold, we were hot, we were tired & hyperactive all at once. We laughed, drank coffee, ate & even celebrated my birthday together! The experience changed my perception of the industry. They DO care about females; they are starting to make products that actually fit our bodies & lifestyles and they are noticing our presence on the competition circuit. It was refreshing to work with a company that wanted to feature real female shooters, not just models. And it was refreshing to get our voice heard. As far as the photo-shoot itself; it was a blast! Most of us don’t do this on a regular basis. We have jobs like everyone else, we take our kids to Girl & Boy Scouts, we do laundry & then we put on our competition rigs to lock & load with the guys. So being a part of such a monumental project that will assert women shooters’ badassery (there’s that word again) worldwide was a major treat. It was a memorable experience for all of us & we hope our message comes through in the campaign this Spring.
So when it comes out – like it, share it, show it to your friends & the women in your life & tell everyone I said: “Watch out boys, female shooters aren’t just a bunch of pretty faces. We are here to stay and the industry is taking notice!”