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Day of Reckoning Has Arrived for RVCA’s Brand Image

Monday, January 26th, 2009

When I think of the lifestyle brand RVCA, images of tattooed surfers, freckly skater chicks, and artsy rock-n-roll all come to mind. Recent ads that I’ve seen in the surf mags feature guys like Alex Knost hanging ten toes off a hand-painted surfboard one minute, while fronting a hip rock band the next. The company’s philosophy revolves around their slogan “balance of opposites” and according to their website they are “renown for pairing contrasting personalities up against one another and celebrating the distinction.” This all made pretty good sense to me and I thought I understood the company’s appeal until witnessing another RVCA athlete during this weekend’s mixed martial arts (MMA) event Affliction: Day of Reckoning.

vitor belfort rvca

Vitor Belfort is a Brazilian MMA middleweight and an athlete sponsored by RVCA. On Saturday night’s ticket he was paired against Oregon’s Matt Lindland in one the night’s most anticipated fights. The fight ended barely a minute after the bell rang when Belfort dropped Lindland with a left hook and proceeded to deliver a barrage of deadly blows that left Lindland unconscious and twitching for several minutes. He was eventually able to make it to his feet and be escorted out of the ring (no doubt headed straight for the emergency room). While emergency crews were dodging the maniacal blows of the semi-conscious and highly confused Lindland, the victorious Belfort was donning his RVCA apparel and raising his gloves in salute to the pay-per-view audience. At this point I was wondering two things: One, will Matt Lindland ever recover from the injuries he just sustained at the hands of RVCA poster boy Vitor Belfort, and two, what exactly was RVCA celebrating in the contrast between Vitor and say…Alex Knost?

What I want to point out here is not the brutal nature of fighting because that’s obvious, but rather what I see as a blatant contradiction on the part of RVCA and their marketing strategy between what they claim to be and what they actually are. I see no potential for balance in the juxtaposition between mellow California surf culture and life altering MMA knockouts. Furthermore, if RVCA is a brand “free from passing trends” like they claim to be on their website, why then have they recently jumped on the MMA bandwagon in an obvious attempt to capitalize on this increasingly popular sport?

So what’s next for RVCA? What new trends can we expect to see in their ad campaigns and sponsorship decisions now that they’ve tackled MMA? Maybe they’ll sponsor that Japanese dude who can eat 300 hot dogs in under an hour and use proceeds to fight hunger in developing countries. I guess some distinctions aren’t worth celebrating at all.

Posted in Brands | 17 Comments »

DC’s Bruce Irons Signature Sandal

Monday, January 19th, 2009

dc bruce irons signature sandal

DC Shoes announced last week that they’re releasing the Bruce Irons signature slippas. Check out that link too, because there’s also a new video commercial for the Bruce that’s pretty cool.

For Spring 2009 DC is proud to unveil Bruce Irons’ signature sandal, the first pro model offered to a member of the small, elite DC surf team. An all-new sandal, it’s been built from the ground up specifically for Bruce, the longest standing member of the DC surf team (on for 10 years).

It’s good to be Bruce Irons. Things couldn’t be going any better for his career since announcing he’s retiring from the world tour. Shortly after he won his first ever WCT event in Indo. We also got news that Volcom is shooting a Bruce video this year with producer Bill Ballard (Archy). And now a signature sandal. Not bad. If only retiring was this good on us all.

Posted in Brands | No Comments »

Maxell Belly Flops Into Action Sports

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Maxell, I’m sorry but your weak ass attempt to capitalize on a buzzword will be met with much resistance. Those of us whose life revolves around action sports, don’t exactly respond positively to brands that are obviously clueless when it comes to what we do.

Maxell has introduced a new line of Action Sports headphones offering active consumers comfort while delivering premium sound. Designed with fitness in mind, the Action Sports line is ideal for intense activities like cross-training, running, spinning and aerobics, just to name a few. The line of Maxell Action Sports headphones are constructed with water-resistant and sweat-resistant materials that prevent moisture from damaging the audio device…

Because nothing says action sports like running, spinning, and aerobics.

The fun doesn’t stop there. Maxell is also announcing today that they’re dumping millions into sponsoring major action sports events such as the Action Sports Pro Tour and the X-Games.

“Maxell’s sponsorships of extreme sports, music and film mirror the interests and lifestyle choices of our target audience,” said Cheryl Severini, senior marketing manager at Maxell.

Here’s hint #2- we (your target audience) stopped using the phrase “extreme sports” some time around 1991, which coincidentally was about the last time I bought anything from Maxell. Nothing says you don’t get it quite like the word ‘extreme’. At least be consistent with using the term action sports.

Oh, and one last thing. Cool flame graphics went out around ‘91 as well.

…Additional prizes include a custom designed Maxell-branded skateboard featuring the blow-away icon in flame red, gray and cool white graphics…

While we appreciate your attempt; We, and I speak for all us, will probably just stick to Skullcandy and Nixon for our headphone needs. At least they’re authentic action sports brand that are genuinely interested in supporting the community. Peace and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Posted in Brands | 9 Comments »

Quiksilver and ESPN Resolve Lawsuit

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

quiksilverMaking the rounds on the wires today is news that Quiksilver and ESPN have resolved their lawsuits over the “X” logo trademark. They’re both issuing similar statements saying how pleased they are that they can continue working together again, yada-yada-yada.

Robert B. McKnight, Jr., Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Quiksilver, Inc., added, “We are pleased that we are once again working together with ESPN to use our collective influence in promoting action sports around the world. It’s clear that together we can make a bigger impact on the athletes and fans who, like us, participate in and follow action sports as a part of their lifestyle.”

But wait, wasn’t this news already reported a couple weeks ago? Yes, it was. Perhaps someone is just trying to squeeze a little juice out of their stock price now that they holidays are over and more folks will see it. Good timing, I suppose.

We put an email into some sources in hopes that we can gain insight into the settlement and we’ll update accordingly.

Posted in Brands | No Comments »

Skullcandy Lands the Boss Dogg

Monday, January 5th, 2009

skullcandySkullcandy, the Park City based company who made headphones cool again, just announced a deal with both Snoop Dogg and Mix Master Mike (Beastie Boys).

Skullcandy, a developer of core audio products, is stoked to announce Snoop Dogg and Mix Master Mike from the Beastie Boys as its headliners at this year’s SIA show in Las Vegas.

Not only that, but Snoop and Mix Master will also collaborate with Skullcandy to launch their own signature headphones.

Skullcandy will introduce Snoop Dogg fans to a whole new world of music listening as they partner with the rapper for his own Skullcrusher—an extreme base amplified headphone. Skullcandy will also be creating a DJ headphone from scratch for Mix Master Mike.

I guess the answers the question on what they’re doing with all the capital they recently raised. Expanding rapidly outside the action sports market.

Posted in Brands | No Comments »

EXPN Rebranded as ESPN Action Sports, Yawn

Monday, January 5th, 2009

espn action sportsEXPN.com, ESPN’s action sports website has rebranded and relaunched tonight as ESPN Action Sports and has now been integrated onto the main ESPN website. I don’t really have a whole lot to say about this matter. Personally, I liked EXPN as a stand-alone brand better. It helped separate it, even if only a little, from the big corpo giant and mainstream sports. Football and skateboarding news just don’t mix and neither does baseball and surfing.

Here’s the bottom line. This is just a move to boost viewership to their action sports content. Which, from a business perspective makes complete sense and would be expected. But it does nothing to improve on the unauthentic content ESPN is putting out around action sports. Which, is the first area they should work on improving if they want to be taken serious. And until they do, I’ll continue consuming content from people who actually ride, not the suits chillin’ behind their desks on Madison Avenue.

Posted in Brands | 5 Comments »

Tony Hawk’s Shred or Die Raises $3 Million

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Shred or Die’s parent company Funny or Die, has raised an additional $3 million in funding from an undisclosed investor. This brings the total funding raised by the company to $15 million.

shred or die

Funny or Die is well known for partnering with celebrities to help promote their brands and skateboard legend Tony Hawk is behind Shred or Die, with Chazz Michael-Michaels Will Farrell, being the man behind the parent company. Shred or Die is probably the best site out there for user-generated action sports videos and the site’s user base has been growing quite fast.

Maybe with all this new money they’ll launch a Blade or Die version of the site.

Posted in Brands | No Comments »

Fuel TV is Getting Tough

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

We caught wind that Fuel TV in Australia is now featuring an hour and a half of UFC fighting every Sunday night. We’ve already written about the lame Affliction ads that are gracing Surfing Mag every month. Now it looks like Fuel TV is doing us the wonderful disservice of bringing the tough guy brands into our sphere.

say not to affliction

Two dudes beating the shit out of each other isn’t an action sport. And if you want to watch it, you already have Spike TV and 20 other channels playing it every night that you can turn to. When I tune into Fuel TV it’s because I’m looking for surfing, skating, or snowboarding. Lets keep it that way. Here’s to hoping UFC fights don’t find their way onto Fuel TV in the US.

Posted in Brands | 8 Comments »

Quiksilver Pulling out of January ASR Show

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

quiksilverThis is devastating news for ASR as Quiksilver just announced they are pulling all of their brands except for DC Shoes from the January ASR show in Long Beach. This includes both Quiksilver and Roxy in addition to smaller lines such as Quiksilver for Women, Raisins, etc.

Not only is this a direct blow to the bottom line of ASR, but Quiksilver, being the industry giant they are, will undoubtedly set the example for many other action sports brands. With retail sales off 30-60% this year, expect more companies to follow Quik and pull out.

ASR has really been struggling this year in finding ways to make it easier for buyers to attend. This isn’t going to make that struggle any easier. They haven’t really done anything innovative and until they do, that trend will continue going in a direction that hurts ASR.

The media game is changing- combine that with an economy that’s gone down the shitter and brands in our industry will continue to feel these negative effects until they can embrace and adapt. There’s a major shakeup coming and the ones who will end up on top are going to really have to rethink and change their strategies. It will interesting to watch, especially if you like carnage!

Posted in Brands | No Comments »

Whiskey Militia: Holiday Gift Steals One at a Time

Friday, December 12th, 2008

whiskey militia

Whiskey Militia, the one-blowout-deal-at-a-time website that’s gained a cult like following since we first covered their launch a 18 months ago, is a great place to score some fresh holiday gifts for your amigos at up to 80% off retail. And in this economy, you need to watch all of your pennies so you at least have a few bucks left to get weird with come New Year’s Eve.

If you’ve never heard of WhiskeyMilitia.com then let me introduce you to a new addiction. Be careful though, it can be harder to kick than crack. Whiskey Militia is the brainchild of Backcountry.com who knocked off the idea from the original “one deal at a time” website, Woot. The concept is to blow out overstocked items one killer deal a time. When that item is sold, it’s taken down from the site and a new item is listed. Discounts often range from 50% off suggested retail to as much as 90% off. WhiskeyMilitia.com also has a couple of sister sites, ChainLove (bike stuff), TramDock (skiing), and Steep and Cheap (outdoor stuff).

Since Whiskey Militia launched, I’ve dropped who knows how many thousands of dollars on everything from t-shirts, to wetsuits, to life-jackets, to a new snowboard. I usually don’t even need the stuff I buy, it’s just to hard to resist buying it when you’re getting such a good deal.

There’s still plenty of time left to grab some dope holiday gifts from WhiskeyMilitia.com. Your brother probably won’t even know you’re a cheap ass either, he’ll just be stoked on his dope present that he’ll think you spent way more on than you did. And just think, you can hit up the bar with the cash you saved and it’ll be just like drinks are on him.

Posted in Brands | No Comments »

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