Archive for May, 2009

FMF’s Malcolm McCassy on MTV’s “Made” Tonight!!

Posted in Interviews on May 28, 2009 by monskeez

Hey Everybody!! Tonight Watch FMF’s Malcolm McCassy on MTV’s hit show “MADE”.

MTV is hitting the extreme world of motocross racing with it’s latest episode of MADE. Watch Kaitlin, a Homecoming Queen who wants to shed her girly image and be MADE into a fierce motocross racer. With the help of motocross master, Malcolm McCassy, Kaitlin will endure four intense weeks of mud, sweat and tears. Will Kaitlin’s training be enough to prepare this pink loving princess for one of the biggest motocross events in the Midwest? Find out on MADE! Plus, look out for a special guest appearance by racing legend Travis Pastrana.

Malcolm had this to say about his experience, “Being part of MTV “Made” as a motocross coach was a such a great experience. I started riding at 2 years old, and have helped teach so many guys & girls of all ages how to ride. Having only 4 weeks to train a seventeen year old Barbie Doll princess with no motocross experience at all had me thinking is this possible. Not only was I worried about having only 4 weeks, but Greenfield Indiana was set to have the biggest rainfall in over a decade, and it did. My student Kaitlin in a small 4 week period had to concur one of the most physically demanding sports in the world, and it got ugly. Blood, sweat, and tear sums up the 4 weeks, but watch this episode to see how it all went down.” On a personal note it doesn’t matter if you a girl or a guy, what ever you want to do just go after it 100%, with full confidence, and you will shine. Girls Rock!!! And I hope your enjoy this amazing experience I had trying to transform this girl into a motocross racer, the power of a women with confidence is no joke…”

Made airs Tonight May 28th at 10pm PST & EST (7pm PST if you have DISH)
Click and Watch Kaitlin going for it!!

Click Here!

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Ad Name Here…

Posted in Perspective with tags on May 26, 2009 by Artform

We live in a celebrity culture. I believe it was Andy Warhol who gave America its first real look at its lust for the celeb (watch any Warhol doc and you’ll agree). In this modern Celebrity culture we have a tendency to attach “names” to any and every product on the market. Does Michael Jordan really drink Coca-Cola? Does any Olympic athlete really eat at McDonalds? It doesn’t matter. If the advertisement says they do, the masses will believe it’s true.

In the action sports we have a very similar tendency to attach Pro/Am names to every product on the market. Especially in the Action Sports Industry. In my opinion it’s understandably so. If Koston skates Indy’s that must mean they’re a damn good truck. If Reynolds jumps down flights of stairs in Emerica’s I bet they’re not too bad. But can we and have we gone a bit too far with the endorsements? I by no means am passing judgement on the athletes themselves, we all need to pay rent. However, what does Pro XYZ have to do with endorsing a Hot Dog brand? Who knows, maybe they make a killer dog…?

It seems as though you can attach a name to any product to increase it’s brand recognition. It doesn’t seem to matter what the product is. The “name” however does matter, and I guess that’s ultimately the important part to our industry. Maybe we can take it a step further and match the right names to the right products. I remember when Aaron Snyder endorsed Old Spice, it worked because he had the clean cut, “I smell good” vibe working for him, which made the ad believable.

So for all you brands out there, think before you endorse and for all your talented Am/Pros out there think before you ink a deal. But hey if the shoe fits endorse it, right?

At least the hair product industry didn’t sponsor any pros for their ads. Because we all truly know, skaters don’t wear hair gel…


Separate But Together…

Posted in Perspective with tags on May 20, 2009 by Artform

I used the term “Action Sports” a lot in my line of work. I’m sure you use it to. You know how it goes, in a crowded bar after the video premiere and someone asks, “hey what do you”? My response is always, I do Marketing and PR for the “Action Sports” industry.

I’ll be honest though. I never liked the term (between you and me). Here is my reasoning. It discredits a whole culture of people. Let me explain… Have you ever hung our with a bunch of snowboarders and really noticed things like the inside jokes, the jargon/slang/terminology, the apparel, the overall vibe? Now have you ever hung out with a group of surfers and listened in for the same things? Or how about a bunch of Skaters or Motocross guys? I don’t know about you, but each group is entirely different to me. I know skaters that have never been to the beach. I know snowboarders that have never ridden a Motorcycle and I know Surfers that have never snowboarded. So can I use a term that represents all of them, like Action Sports? I guess so. I mean, when I use it, everyone knows what I’m talking about. So why bring it up?

I bring it up because, I have seen many Non-endemic brands (especially non-endemics) try and “target” the action sports industry. I have seen many brands and companies think that they can put together a nice little budget, throw in a few events and endorse a few athletes and all of a sudden they will be the next big thing in the industry. What we all need to remember is that we are dealing with groups of people that are completely dedicated to their discipline; they give blood, sweat and tears. Each “sport” is completely different and the best way to communicate with each group is through authenticity. For example Kelly Slater is great for speaking to the surf community but Tony Hawk might not work so well speaking to the Snowboard community. Unfortunately I have seen these campaigns take place.

To wrap it up here, keep in mind when dealing with any of the sports within the “action sports” industry, that each one is entirely different and unique and should be treated as so. Maybe the only thing that we all have in common is our love for the ride.


Brand Development

Posted in Perspective with tags , , , , , on May 14, 2009 by Artform

Yesterday I was having a conversation with a fellow artist about why one persons work sells better than another. I broke it down like this…

Imagine you had a white canvas and you drew a red line across it. At the bottom you placed your signature. Now, imagine (place current famous artists name here) had a white canvas and made the exact same splash of red across the surface and then placed their signature at the bottom. Which canvas do you thunk would sell for more money? The obvious answer is the famous artist.

Next scenario, take a plain white tee and in a basic bold font put the name of your company on the tee (Brand X). Take another plain white tee and in the same exact font place the words Nike on it. Which one do you think would sell for more money? The obvious answer – Nike.

The million dollar question then is, what is it that separates one brand from another? The answer is found within the branding. Lots of blood, sweat and tears.

I once had a client tell me he wanted to start a company that was to serve as a platform for the underground artists. At the same time his company wanted to make political statements and raise awareness globally about injustices. Lastly, he wanted his brand to have a music label component where he could release albums by local artists.

Now those are all great ideas and I’m not knocking any of them. But when he approached me with designs for his catalog his company was reduced to 6 t-shirt designs. Good designs, but nothing about those images conveyed the messages of what he wanted his brand to represent. Not only that, but he didn’t advertise or market his brand in any other ways. Which ultimately means that they were just good ideas with no execution.

A brand is more than just a good idea. A brand is just more than a good design. A brand must mean something.

Let’s go back to the Nike t-shirt scenario. Let’s imagine you and I started a running shoe company today and we make a shirt for our new brand “Run Fun”. Now let’s put our shirt next to Nike’s inside of a major running shoe store (Footlocker, Big 5, Copelands, etc…). When a runner comes in looking for a t-shirt, they will see our name and associate it with nothing. They will look at Nike and think of all the Olympic Gold Medalists that have worn Nike over the years. They may think back to their history with the brand and how much Nike has been involved in and contributed to their sport. They’ll think of athletes they’ve endorsed and commercials they’ve seen and they’ll think about the quality and comfort of the shoes… all this and more, simply by looking at Nike’s brand name. Why? Because Nike has literally supported the sport if running in many different ways over the years.

So, when building Your brand, whether it’s your art, your products or anything else, remember that people need to connect with your company. They need to be proud to endorse it. They need to feel good about your brand on many levels. Your brand needs to stand for something and you need to ensure that you are pro actively staying involved with those causes your brand represents.

My point is simply this… a brand name on a shirt by itself represents nothing, it’s what you DO with that brand that means everything.


DBC Ride Shop’s Makeover

Posted in Knowledge with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2009 by monskeez

Recently, I read an article in the LA Times business section that caught my attention and so I wanted to share it with you. The article talks about DBC and it’s owners and the steps they need to take in order to make this one time thriving store a successful one once again. Industy expert Tommy Knapp offers advice and recommends that DBC narrows it’s focus and establish a niche.

DBC Surf

Tommy advises DBC Ride Shop owners Greg Armer and George Beard in San Clemente to focus on their core: drop surf and do skate, and get new vendors and product that isn’t sold everywhere else. He also mentions to establish grass roots marketing and have hot dog days and other cool events at the store that will increase their in-store customers. Marketing seems to be one of those budgets that goes first during tough times, when in fact there should be more emphasis placed on it especially when the strategies are cost efficient.

Since the shop is moving to San Clemente, where there are many other surf retailers, DBC will have to make certain changes in order to differentiate themselves from the rest of the competition.”Their business is very viable,” Knapp says. “It’s only a lost cause if they continue to be in a sea of sameness.”

With that being said, be creative with your marketing and merchandising and offer something unique to your customers.


What’s next??

Posted in Thoughts from our great interns with tags , , , , , , on May 7, 2009 by monskeez

Trends. They come and go. Sometimes they stay longer because some advocate, be it a celebrity or iconoclast, directly (or indirectly) promotes it. What’s funny is that no matter the trend there will always be those who hail it and, in turn, the haters. Crocs is a pretty good example. So are Tomogachi’s, the electronic pocket pet that made it big in 6th grade. I don’t want to present a list of past trends that have been subject to such dichotomy, but I feel that in this era a new trend is worthy of being mentioned – social media sites. Specially, Twitter.

When I was in high school this growing trend started with a simple blogsite called Live Journal. It didn’t last very long because people discovered Myspace. Eventually, by the time I got into college and up until recently the trend had finally expanded with Facebook. This site took the stage for a very long time. That is, until Twitter arrived. Yup, this is another blog about Twitter. A lot of professionals that I’ve encountered lately tell me that this social networking tool is pretty important to have in one’s daily repertoire. Sure, it’s a great marketing tool, but what more is it than a somewhat convenient Facebook status? I mean, I don’t care if you’re brushing your teeth or just sitting down to dinner. Actually, I’m going to stop following you if that’s all you’re going to tweet about. In fact, what’s up with this whole following thing? I have to recruit people to view my updates? Sounds like someone is looking for attention…

Anyways, Twitter is a pretty interesting “tool” that seems to have grabbed the attention of many companies and individuals, including myself. But don’t let the hype guide you. Something better will and always comes out.

~ JC

Sweet Idealism…

Posted in Inspirational with tags , , on May 6, 2009 by Artform

I guess I’ve been an idealist my whole life. Idealism is based on the philosophy that the ultimate nature of reality is based on mind or ideas. Meaning that if you truly believe in something, it becomes your reality. Idealism is in contrast with the philosophy of “realism” which deals more in the realm of certainties and proof (but that’s just my take on such divine matters).

As someone who grew up on the streets of L.A. as a skater/surfer/artist/dj aka “street kid”, I grew up with a lot of idealism. I thought that Skaters could rule the world, that Hip-hop and Punk Rock could change society and that if we remained united, we could create our own destiny (there I go again, sounding idealistic).

But… was I wrong in my assumptions? Can we as a small group still create for change and better our future? I believe we can. I believe in turning ideas into reality and I take a stand for progression. Call me idealistic.