Thursday, June 13, 2013

It’s a YETI® Way of Life

For the better part of a year, I've noticed a lot of guys in my age range sporting YETI® mesh trucker hats and YETI® t-shirts. Spotting a YETI® sticker on the back of a large SUV more recently was the final straw – I had to know what YETI® was all about.

On June 6th, 2013, the top Google search result for the term "YETI" was for the Abominable Snowman's Wikipedia page. The second result was for a cooler manufacturer. I took hunch that all of these guys that I've been noticing aren't showing their support for an imaginary monster and that the YETI® logo I keep seeing is that of a cooler company.

The large number of people sporting YETI® t-shirts, hats and bumper stickers cannot all be employed by a cooler company that was previously unknown to me. So how does this cooler company get all of this free advertising? A visit to shows that YETI®’s marketing department has brilliantly associated the company’s image with the sportsman’s lifestyle.


A cooler is a cooler is a cooler, right? Not really. YETI® claims that their coolers are more durable and have features that keep contents cooler for longer periods of time. This quality sure doesn't hurt the company image but it’s not the reason for all of that free publicity. YETI® has created the need for its product on your next moose hunt, on the deep sea fishing expedition you’ll take this fall or the safari your boss takes every year.

If you've ever been on an excursion like this, how much attention to detail did you give to your cooler (other than capacity)? That's right – none. Just like Coca-Cola® associated itself with Santa and Christmas, YETI® has created the notion that their product simply…belongs on your hunt and in your boat.


Fortunately or unfortunately, purchases we make are often made to exude that we belong to a particular rank of human and enjoy an exclusive lifestyle. Luxury cars are big-time examples of this notion. Costa sunglasses have paved the way for the likes of YETI® to associate a product with an “outdoorsy” lifestyle and give consumers instant credibility – or at least the appearance that they know their way around a tackle box.

I’m not exactly sure what you call this phenomenon that gives people the mindset that they belong to a lifestyle or play a particular role (whether it’s accurate or not) all because of a purchase. But brands – particularly clothing brands – have been tapping into it for a long time, and smartly so.


The part of Alabama in which I live is not exactly on the gulf coast. But despite being located within the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, it is not uncommon to see guys sporting deep sea fishing sunglasses and apparel here. Obviously, these items were intended for a specific purpose but in these instances, they are used to portray a hobby or lifestyle. I don’t know for sure but I would guess that a lot of these items were purchased for looks and not for their intended function.

YETI® has wisely created a line of products that doesn’t limit consumers to the lifestyle associated with saltwater activities. I imaging that a larger percentage of their annual sales came from “lifestyle” purchases than excursion-equipment purchases. And that’s OK – there are far more people out there looking for a quick image enhancement than people going on an actual safari.

I’m very impressed with the following YETI® has created for itself. I don’t think it be long before the YETI® cooler company appears in that #1 spot on my Google search.

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