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Today, we’re sharing our chat with the marketing team from Rip Curl International, a global surf company. We talked to James Taylor, Global Creative Director of Marketing, who oversees all creative marketing efforts at Rip Curl. We also chatted with Brendan Downs, Global Webmaster and Senior Front End Developer.

Rip Curl is a world-renowned surfing company that’s been catering to surfers since 1969. With a reputation as the go-to company for everything surf, Rip Curl inspires anyone who wants to catch a wave.

Rip Curl’s global email marketing campaigns promote their gear, from wetsuits, to board shorts, to watches, to bikinis.

Here’s what James and Brendan had to say about how email marketing works for Rip Curl:

What is Rip Curl all about?

JT: Rip Curl, as a company, is the last pure surfing company. We strive to be the ultimate surfing company. That’s the brand statement. So it makes it easy for us to find creative ways to talk to surfers because everyone’s focused on that one goal.

BD: At Rip Curl, the “search” is actually the heart of the company. We believe in exploring and pushing your own personal boundaries to find the perfect wave. We believe in traveling to amazing locations and experiencing something new. That emphasis sets us apart from other brands. Our digital marketing has helped Rip Curl grow — now our products are just a click away from our stores.

Why is email marketing important to Rip Curl?

JT: Email marketing is critical to the way that we market because we can create one message. We can template it really accurately and tightly using our style guide, which is critical for our brand continuity. Then we can tell the same message in every region and layer in lots of different content based on our subscribers’ preferences. Email allows us to give our customers exactly what they’ve told us that they’re interested in.

BD: Email marketing is fast, personal, customizable, and in some ways it’s even more powerful than social media. Unlike social media, email doesn’t disappear off your feed. It’s there in your inbox. It’s available. If you miss it one day, you can go back and see it again. And, most often, email hits the personal device that we all love, our mobile phone, making it very intimate. No other medium allows us to really communicate in a personalized, customized way like the email campaigns we send using Campaign Monitor.

JT: The thing that I love about email is that we can deliver a large body of content. It’s not a quick grab on Instagram or a fractured message on Facebook. Email allows us to share a full message — we can add our videos, our messaging, as well as links to the things that we really want our customers to see. Email helps us deliver a complete campaign package.

How do you use Campaign Monitor at Rip Curl?

BD: Campaign Monitor helps us send targeted emails to our customers. The obvious ones are gender — send girl-specific content or guy-specific content — but we can get even more macro, right down to language and location.

Because we’re global, we also love Campaign Monitor’s Worldview feature. When you send a big campaign to a large group of people, you can see all their faces pop up, with their names, as well as when they opened on, on Worldview. It’s very exciting. Check it out in action here.



Rip Curl is really rich in history. But we’re not an old brand; we stay young. We stay fresh, and we’re always still delivering fresh, new content to our audience. And Campaign Monitor is one of those tools that we use to deliver that fresh, new generated content.

You recently launched your first global campaign. Can you tell us about how it went?

BD: Rip Curl recently launched Search GPS, a fantastic, innovative new product. It’s a watch that allows surfers to track their surf, register their top speeds and distance, then sync their data so they can relive the experience.

During our world-class event at Bells Beach, we announced the launch to the masses. It was a bit of a tease at that time, and we asked people to give us their email address so we could let them know when the product was available. The response was crazy — we had so many people sign up.

So when we launched the watch, we sent emails out to the masses, and again the response was fantastic. That was probably the first time we’d really pushed an email out to a global audience and segmented down to different languages.

The watch is an amazing product for Rip Curl. It’s a technical, innovative product built for surfers — and we were able to communicate that to the masses with Campaign Monitor. It was a great success for us.

Rip Curl email example


JT: The Search GPS campaign was a fantastic one. We came up with a compelling marketing story. We were able to use different mediums to tell a cohesive story in a clear and easy way for customers to understand.

We leveraged different media from print to email marketing to social to YouTube, which engaged customers on a lot of different levels. This was definitely the first global initiative that we’ve had for a campaign launch. We had one product launching at the same time in every region, which is quite different for us. And so utilizing the tools, we were able to build anticipation for customers and then leverage sales and offer them a great incentive to jump on board and enjoy the experience of what we’re trying to provide them through direct communication.

What separates Campaign Monitor from other email platforms?

BD: The unique features of Campaign Monitor would have to be the UI. The user interface is very intuitive. You can get the job done quickly and easily, whether you’re building out a campaign or measuring results.

Once I understood the power and the flexibility of what we could do with templates, it was really easy for me to understand how our content could fit into an email. It was fantastic to create a robust template and have a tight grip on our style.

We partner with the world’s most innovative technology companies, and we choose Campaign Monitor.

JT: We love using Campaign Monitor because we’re able to test messages. For example, we had a bunch of different messages that we felt were great. We were able to test a small sample of those messages using the A/B test feature. This tool helped us find which message resonated the best with our audience.

What can you learn from how Rip Curl uses email marketing?

  • Send subscribers what they want – Subscribers sign up because they want specific information, such as information about a new product. Develop your email campaigns around their desires.
  • Align email efforts with marketing efforts – Rip Curl is 100% committed to its audience, wanting to meet them where they are. When the SearchGPS watch was released, Rip Curl leveraged email, social, video, and other channels for maximum effect.
  • Customization helps you stay true to your brand – Brand means everything to Rip Curl, so every customer-facing email showcases Rip Curl’s brand and products in a beautiful way.
  • Leverage email where it outperforms social media – Unlike social media, email marketing allows you to package an entire campaign in one. It’s not a snapshot– it can include videos, copy, product photos, and more.
  • A/B test for success – Before sending out a large global campaign (or even a small one), A/B test your design and messaging to make sure you nail your email.

Watch Rip Curl in action

Every customer-facing email showcases Rip Curl’s brand and products in a beautiful way. Grab your board and see it in action in this video.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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