Garmin: A Marketing 50 Case Study

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Photo: Tony Pettinato
Garmin is going places, thanks to the marketing of its Global Positioning System products, which have become a hit with sports enthusiasts.

Since 2000, when it received Defense Department approval of its GPS for civilians, Garmin International has unleashed an array of mapping devices. Garmin's goal was to expand from a navigation niche to "everyone with a pulse," says VP-Communications Jon Cassat, 51.

In 2007, Garmin aired a live ad on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," mocking guys who refuse to ask for directions. But many of its efforts have focused on the male bastion of sports. In 2007 and 2008, Garmin tackled the dreaded "Maposaurus" in ads including a high-profile spot during the Super Bowl. The company's print ads reach triathletes, runners, cyclists, hikers, hunters and fishermen.

There's big business in keeping people from getting lost. Garmin reported $1.6 billion in revenue for the first half, ended June 28, up 28.5% from a year earlier. Advertising is handled in-house, but Garmin tapped Fallon, Minneapolis, for the 2007 Super Bowl spot and Tierney, Minneapolis, for a 2008 Bowl ad.
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