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Gymshark launches fake birthday campaign to get shopper's attention before Black Friday

Camilla Rydzek
23 November 2021

Sports label Gymshark launched a fake birthday campaign to garner shoppers' attention ahead of Black Friday, compiling video recordings of eight celebrities, including Carol Baskin of Netflix's Tiger King and Harry Potter's Tom Felton, wishing the imaginary "Jim Shark" a happy birthday. 

Gymshark posted a compilation of videos yesterday with the the title "Wait, who's Jim Shark?" showing celebrities wishing imaginary "Jim Shark" a happy birthday.

At the time of writing the brand has garnered 71,200 likes on its Instagram post, while Carol Baskin's video message, which was pinned on Twitter, has received 815 likes.

The brand decided to launch this unconventional campaign instead of a regular Black Friday advertisement to capture the attention of its customers in the run-up to the annual shopping event on the 26 November.

The messages were recorded via online platform Cameo which lists minor and major celebrity actors, comedians, athletes and creatives. For a set fee, for example Tom Felton charges £443, the chosen personalities record a video message for the user.

For Gymshark's campaign, eight unknowing celebrities sent a personalised birthday video message to the imaginary Jim Shark that were shared by the brand on their social platforms leading to soaring overnight views.

The celebrities were Carol Baskin from Netflix show Tiger King, actors Anthony Anderson, Brian Baumgartner and Captain Lee Rosbach, TV producer Nêv Schulman, American announcer Michael Buffer and footballer Andy King.

Listening to the videos, which each last between 40 and 60 seconds it seems the celebrities all assumed that Jim Shark was in some way associated with the sportswear brand.

As Gymshark explained in their Instagram post, the person Jim Shark does not exist and neither is it Gymshark's anniversary. Instead this was a targeted marketing campaign aimed at getting customer's attention to the brand's Black Friday promotion.

"Pranking celebs to wish us happy birthday when it’s not our birthday > promoting our up to 70% off Black Friday sale (link in bio if you're interested)," the brand posted on their Instagram account.

"Proud to say the team broke the internet last night when they got 'Jim Shark' trending. It's tough to stand out during BFCM week, so you've got to do what you can!" wrote Noel Mack, Chief Brand Officer at Gymshark on LinkedIn.

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