Separate But Together…
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.