How to be a Born Survivor in Business with Bear Grylls
A1 fter being discovered in 2006, Bear Grylls began to set out on a prestigious broadcasting journey. On his program Man vs. Wild, he ran headlong into all sorts of harsh environments pushing him to the limit, and he survived by virtue of his resourcefulness and some simple tools like a dagger, a string of rope, a piece of flint and the like. The show helped him gain over one billion fans worldwide. In fact, there are certain reasons behind his success.
Outdoor Survival Skills
It is the nature-driven mentality that contributes to the boom of the outdoor recreation industry. Yet, not everyone is a guru of the outdoors, most are merely an amateur of the outdoors.
In Man vs. Wild, the ever intrepid Bear taught the audience how to find food, drink water and stay safe in the wild, for example, how to save energy and find water and food in the desert, and how to obtain edible foods and how to navigate through a forest.
The show virtually satisfied the needs of its target audience, and laid a solid foundation for the popularization of outdoor recreation industry.
It brings the bloody battle for survival to the viewer’s living room. Do you find it nauseating to eat animal innards and even maggots?
The audience may not like it, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t like to watch other people do it. Bear was literally the maestro of magnetism. For example, he once skinned an antelope to make a sleeping bag, used its intestine as a rope, and ate its heart raw; he also ate raw weevil larvae, and sucked the bone marrow of a dead deer, and drank the water squeezed from elephant dung.
Scenes that challenge both mind and stomach alike ended up being a real ratings grabber and always fodder for hot debate while expanding the potential of business development. Although the show might have been
deliberately designed to be controversial, it was favored by producers, advertisers and sponsors, and particularly by the audience, who even claimed Bear to be the man standing atop the food chain.
Totally unscripted and filled with unexpected mishaps, Bear’s show was lauded as never repetitive nor conventional, and appropriate for sustainable broadcasting.
For example, one episode would be set on a desert island, the next a snowy mountain, and the next a virgin forest. Besides encountering poisonous snakes, piranha, waterfalls and cliffs during shooting, he would narrate his solutions while overcoming every challenge that nature threw at him. It was those unpredictable and unforgettable scenes that shocked the heart and the senses.
The Celebrity Effect
Knowing that, after a while, the audience may find it boring to watch a one-man show, Bear started to make changes. He invited mega-celebs to guest star on the show
2 with the intent of forming a Super IP, to create a pan-
entertainment market targeting outdoor adventures, and to popularize the outdoor recreation industry.
With all the celebrity, would the mild be preferred to wild? No. Bear kept his “wild” ways.
In Running Wild with Bear Grylls, one-time basketball sensation Shaquille O’Neal was offered a piece of bloody elk placenta as dinner; and the Fast and Furious lead Michelle Rodriquez, was instructed to cook rats in her own urine; and Almost Famous lead Kate Hudson was persuaded to eat ants.
One reason for the popularity of the show is that the audience get to celebrities in every imaginable disgusting or embarrassing scenario, which differs greatly from their usual brave and heroic image.
Meanwhile, the celebrity effect has increased the show’s advertising power exponentially, for example vast numbers of products are placed strategically throughout a single hour-long episode. In 2014, Bear endorses a wellknown outdoor sports equipment brand, Camel, while his endorsement fee reaches into the tens of millions of dollars.
Bear also has deals with Parajet, a British company, in developing a portable aerial vehicle. And subsequently, the product went on to hot sales among many adventurers and travelers who are fond of trying the next big thing.
Moreover, Bear has deals with many tourist attractions.
节目中明星们的各种形态，让观众看到他们平时英姿飒爽的另一面 , 也让贝尔备受推崇。
贝尔与英国 Parajet 公司合作开发便携式飞行器，不少冒险者和尝鲜者都成为其忠实的用户。
In September 2015, Bear’s show, Survivor Games, on which he invited some Chinese stars such as Cecelia Han and Zhang Wei, was shot in Libo, a scenic spot in Guizhou Province. Right after the show was released, over 50 travel agencies went to Libo County to take scout around, which immediately enhanced the popularity and influence of the Libo tourist destination.
But this was just Bear dipping his toe into the Chinese water.
Beyond that, Bear also challenged other Chinese celebs, such as Fu Yuanhui (female swimmer), Han Geng (singer & actor), Ivy Chen (actress), Li Yanhong (Internet entrepreneur) and Yao Ming (basketball star). In the show, Fu Yuanhui, who brought home the copper in swimming at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, was led to a raging river where she waded into the water, crossed a single-plank bridge, ate raw snake meat, and drank snake blood, all of which brought out her soft side; Li Yanhong, an engineer and a technical expert, was guided to eat larva and raw yak meat, all of which brought out his wild side; and Fan Zhiyi, a professional football player, ate live marmots with Bear, and was hung under a helicopter that circulated 50 meters over a lake, all of which challenged his psychological mettle.
After the show was released, it immediately went viral on all major social network sites, which was a real win-win for Bear, who landed endorsement deals, and the celebrities got what they were looking for.
The unique charm of Bear’s Super IP format is the “wildness” device, as the program emphasizes the fear factor of famous stars when they take their turn munching on “nature’s treats” in the course of trying to be a survivor.
After working with the celebrities, Bear turned his attention to the education market. He started “Bear Grylls Survival Summer Camp” to target the general public.
In 2012, the Survival Training Camp launched its first course named “Five-day Outdoor Survival Training” in Scotland. The camp setting had all the same geographical environment found in the wild, with various types of courses available, including “24-hour Family Course,” as well as a “Five-day-and-four-night Extreme Course.” All the courses were sorted out by Bear according to his own experience of serving in the army and his adventures on his shows. Moreover, all the group leaders were top-notch professionals, hand-selected by Bear himself.
During one of the training camp courses on a desert island of the coast of Scotland, instructors taught the students how to cross a gorge with a single rope, how to eat the moss usually consumed by a deer, how to set up a shelter by using a discarded fishing net and weeds, how to make a spring trap, how to give first-aid, how to dissect a hare and how to keep yourself warm after drowning.
Afterwards, the Survival Training Camp entered the United States, Australia and other Western countries, setting off a craze in the outdoor recreation industry.
Go Adventuring with Bear in China
After his stellar success in Europe and America, plus the favorable market response of his previous show, Survival Game, Bear plans on continuing the march towards China.
Xu Zheng was the first Chinese entrepreneur to collaborate with Bear. In 2014, Xu Zheng founded “Outing Man,” which mainly focuses on outdoor lifestyle and education.
At present, “Bear Grylls Survival Summer Camp”
powered by Outing Man has three major categories– adult course, family course and extreme course, with incremental marketing strategies being employed to advertise to target demographics in China, which center on the mid-to-high end casual users. Still, the courses carry an unusually high price tage. Taking the 24-hour training camp as an example, the cost for an adult course with ten people in a group is 3,280 RMB per person, and the cost for a family course made up of ten families is 3,980 RMB per family (one parent and one child only).
All the activities in the course, such as swimming across the river, making fire, purifying water, rock climbing and prompt drop, not only provide opportunities for the students see what life is like when they are pushed to limit, but also have massive market value.
And it surely means more than just putting the televised Bear Grylls Survival Summer Camp into real life.
First of all, Mr. Grylls and Xu Zheng’s team continued to make deals with tourist attractions, and they independently developed an outdoor travel route full of distinctive local flair and suitable for field survival activities, for example, diving is the theme for Hainan route, and wild life protection is the key for South African route. Up to now, apart from five overseas travel routes, two campsites have been set up in Sinkiang and Hainan.
Secondly, they have reached out to China’s education market, which has the greatest potential for development, and developed an outdoor education system for children, known as the Wildkid Academy. By means of the selection of sites and routes, Wildkid Academy has included 18 subjects, such as astronomy, physics and oceanography in its experimental activities.
Compared with China’s traditional test- oriented education that is all about cramming a kid’s mind with facts, such experimental teaching is more acceptable and favored by the public.
In these programs, Bear provides a complete range of technical services, and he also introduces many suits outfitted with high-end professional equipment, including headlamps, tents and water bottles, from his sponsoring brands. It is worth noting that the annual fee for the outdoor education programs reaches up to approximately 100,000 RMB, yet many Chinese parents still rush to sign up; it looks like Mr. Gyrlls has hit upon a real cash cow.
In addition, a whole outdoor recreation industry chain centering on Bear’s Survival Training Camp has also taken its roots in China. Conceivably, Mr. Gyrlls’ stands to keep the mill running in China long into the future.
(From Jiangsu Commercial News)
1.Bear Grylls, born on 7 June 1974, is a British adventurer, writer and television presenter from Northern Ireland. He is widely known for his television series Man vs. Wild (2006– 2011). Grylls is also involved in a number of wilderness survival television series in the UK, US and China. With his huge popularity across the world, Grylls started his business in outdoor training programs for the public, which turned out to be even more successful.
2.Super IP refers to the IP (Intellectual Property) with great exploitable value, which should not only have long-term vitality and commercial value, but should also contain at least four elements – value, universal elements, storyline and presentation.
● Li Yanhong, CEO of Baidu, is eating larva in Bear’s show百度CEO李彦宏节目中生吃幼虫
● Han Xue, the Chinese actress,is participating in the show “Go Adventuring with Bear”明星韩雪参加《跟着贝尔去冒险》
● Michelle Rodriquez米歇尔·罗德里格兹
● Bear Grylls and Chinese top model He sui (Right)贝尔和中国名模何穗（右）