The other day I was reading a skate mag and I noticed a bunch of ads which I felt looked contrived. It seemed as though some brands were trying to convince the skate community that they we’re who they say they are. For example, there was one brand that was going for the raw gritty urban look, but the rider in the ad just looked like a normal, run of the mill, suburban Joe. Granted the kid rips, but he didn’t fit the part. Then I was looking at an opposite ad, where the brand was going for the Hesh/Punk thing and it just seemed so overdone. Almost as if they were trying to convince themselves that they were hardcore. I see this time and time again.
When I saw these ads it reminded me of a time when things just happened. When brands simply just “were” and everyone knew it. Let’s take Zoo York for example… when they came out with Mixtape it was so raw and uncut. RocRaida (RIP), Harold Hunter (RIP), Method Man, Pang, I mean c’mon. No one was trying to create an image that they were hardcore, they were just being themselves and that’s why we jumped on board with Zoo. Their branding happened Organically threw the process of just being themselves. No one needed to be convinced that Vinny Ponte would punch you in the face or that Steven Cales was a raw ass dude, it just came across naturally. Same with Menace, everyone knew Fabian Alomar was rugged. The point is this, they all ripped and they all fit the part. So marketing the team and their association with these brands was a natural relationship.
So when I see an ad nowadays with some 16 yr old kid from the valley acting tough, I find it a hard sell. Remember Brands- use what you got, be yourselves and let others in on it. You’ll be way more convincing that way, organically speaking.