Before I get too far into this, I must say that it is with good intentions that I write this here blog, I don’t want to call out a fight with anyone, I’m merely asking questions. I am open minded to good argument, and hope that I get a response to this. Open dialouge is the best form of communication and I welcome it… (also please disregard my spelling mistakes… I’m terrible at it, and Josh didn’t build in a spell check, it’s his fault.)
Late last week I copycat-ed our friend and member of triumvate member of Iowisconsota Samuel McGuire on some of the old Nike commercials that I loved when I was growing up. I remain firm to this. I think that the commercials DO embody what it is to be a skateboarder. How you get treated and what it would mean for other sports. I do think that they would have been that much more powerful if they would have had them putting in some parking lot or playing tennis under some bridge somewhere, but thats neither here nor there. They are what they are.
Over the weekend I recieved some fan mail based on my posting of these commercials. It came from an individual that shall remain unnamed. Below is an excerpt…
“They are very good commercials! Did Nike come up with them because they are skateboarders and could sympathize? Or wait, did Nike come up with them? Or did some ad agency research the plight of skateboarders and come up with them and then ad Nike’s logo. They would have been just as good with the ad agencies logo attached, wait, better! Cuz then Nike wouldn’t have been trying to trick people into thinking they care. You shouldn’t have to hire people to show you how to care. “
I can’t help but feel the angst in this email. I understand that Nike as a coporate entity did hire an ad agency to market their product. But this is a moot point, their shoes aren’t going away. They’ve made some of the ugliest stuff EVER and it sells like hotcakes. Besides every company hires ad agencies. Maybe not every SKATE company, but the bigger ones do. Or at least hire advertising staff. Either way the prupose of the agency or staff is to get the message out that they have good product. Nike seems to do a good job of it. I will have to say that the ad agency hit the nail on the head with these and so Nike did a good job of hiring our for the position, but you’re right, they did not come up with these ads themselves. But does it really mean that they care less about the clientel that they’re trying to appeal to? I don’t know. They are a company that makes sporting equipment, more specifically shoes. They’ve been making shoes for longer than I’ve been alive. They have millions of dollars in R&D and marketing to know what makes a shoe good for your feet and soft on the eye. To make the leap from hiring out ad agencies to not caring seems a bit much. With that, I’m going to try and find some examples of companies that have had success in our industry and are also associated with larger parent companies.
Lets consider this… Hawk Shoes & Clothing, Planet Earth, and Adio Shoes are owned by parent compnay K2. K2 started out as a manufacturer first and foremost for SKIS! Then mountain bikes… and INLINE SKATES!!!! What business do they have in the SKATEBOARD industry? They too must hire out to get at their skateboard market. As well as every other market they’re in. But I don’t think that they care any less about their clentel. Does this mean that Tony Hawk, or Bam, or Steve Nesser are any less the skaters just becuase the have sponsorship from companies that might not be “skater owned and operated”? Or that they care any less about the direction of the sport? I bet they don’t like inline skaters though, but K2 pays the bills and they put out some good product. I would have to say that with that said, they care… at least a little. What about Zoo York? Most of us frown at the kids that are walking down the street with a wack crotch grabbing swagger sporting Echo Unlimited. But the Zoo is in fact owned by Marc Echo. It’s his designs for christ sake. If you own anything Zoo York, you’re basically buying the skater kids version of Echo, same thing, same company. Or is it? I bet they hire out an ad agency too, or at least put together their team, and let them do it up. But does it mean they don’t care? Nope. They care a bunch… I bet you anything.
I think alot of this comes down to money. They care… but they care about MONEY. Of course they do! Everyone does to some extent. We can argue this all day, but deep down, everyone wishes they had enough money to not have to worry about money. Right? Every kid growing up wants a job thats going to pay them enough to get buy… hopefully more! Some skate kids hope and wish that it’s in the industry. Some are lucky enough to get there. Some aren’t. But is the kid that gets there and signs a big contract with some multi-billion dollar company selling out? I say no… he’s paying the bills. I’d do the same thing. The band that makes millions selling the music they love… are they selling out? No! They set forth to make music people love and the fact that it’s selling is their success. Some skater owned companies are a success. There are those out there that have been started by and have been run entirely from skate industry money. Some of them are still around. Some are not. Have those that made it big sold out? Those that make money? DC? Are they a sell out? A success? Are they bad for skateboarding? Do they take money from the little guy? yes?! Does that make them bad?
I try to support small companies that I think are doing the right thing. Companies my friends own, companies my friends ride for, companies that my friends have started. I try to support my friends by buying porduct with their names on it… boards, shoes, clothes. And when I don’t have someone to help out, I’ll buy what I feel is next best. I buy New Balance running shoes, cause they fit my feet well. I buy Nike dry-fit shorts and shirts to play ball in cause they do a hell of a job. I buy Canon cameras cause I think they work real nice. I buy Sessions outerwear cause they make DAMN good stuff. I buy foreign cars cause they run better then the domestics.
I don’t really understand the whole Nike doesn’t belong schem. Consolidated seems to have the biggest beef with them. They even created the “Drunks” which other than the bannana inplace of the swoosh, look exactly the same. To this I say why did you make these? Isn’t imitation the sincerest form of flatterly? We’ve all heard that… right? So aren’t you really just glorifying what they’re doing? I don’t know… but it seems to be an odd way of showing how much you hate this company.
In the end, I’m not supporting or condoning Nike, nor am I hating on them. I simply like the ads. I do enjoy the conversation, and… here is my biggest point… it’s conversation like this that stimulates the skate economy and makes the little guys try harder to be on top. It’s what makes mountians out of mole hills and makes dreams reality. It gives people something to strive for. Success! You have to have ideas to do anything, and with out conversation and ideas, we’d be no where. I’d like to keep this conversation open. If anyone has anything to say, chime in, hit me up.