Posts Tagged ‘brand management’

When Colloquialisms Attack Or, The Time Something About A Muska Shoe Ad Bothered Me For 13 Years

March 9, 2012

Recently as part of a broader discourse on the state of the modern skateshop I deployed the phrase “branded product,” and even with scare quotes highlighting a wry and half-joking nature, heh heh, I felt kind of like a dork. There’s any number of breadcrumbs dropped along skateboarding’s meandering path into the deep dark forest of institutionalization lo these past couple decades, and embracing this type of industry jargon seems like shaking the bag. For the youngsters there’s maybe some cachet to dangling such terms around the park or the curb, suggesting you’re familiar with the industry and maybe a little bit of world-weariness to go along with it, but as time passes I feel sometimes like these little phrases get to be more of a reminder of how weirdly and wonderfully insular our little universe can be, what with pretty much all the media by/for/about its advertisers and well-documented revolving doors granting exit and entry from jobs at companies or distributors the same as pro team rosters.

Of course at a time where our planet is regularly threatened by dangerous solar storms and powered by a steadily expanding sun that may one day engulf us, or heat us up too much to live anymore, this is all minor league shit. But, for a tribe that has developed its own vernacular to the point where a factual complete sentence like “He kickflip backside noseblunt slid that hubba for his ender in the Firm’s ‘Can’t Stop'” sounds like gibberish to the man on the street, I’m getting on my Académie Française on for some grievance airing. Disclaimer, this blog webpage has maybe abused any or all of these phrasings.

Product, singular: Sorta remember first noticing this in interviews in the late 1990s, now it is the parlance of our times when it comes to discussing numerous boards, sets of wheels, pairs of shoes and so on. During especially sensitive moments this word could be seen to carry an elitist tinge, like an offhand description of sponsorship spoils. But it’s also useful as a reminder of the commoditization of boards and wheels over the past decade, and maybe now shoes too, until the pendulum finally swings away from canvas low-tops and back toward the Es Scheme.

Colorway: Distinctly recall first seeing this in an ad for Muska’s first pro shoe for Circa. Disliked it because it always seemed a little poofy and, dare I say, girly. Why not just “see other colors of the Scheme at http://www.esfootwear.com”?

Core: When referring to a shop or a company. To me the word “core” in this sense comes from the same land where they farm those big neon-coloured hats with the fake dreadlocks, step-in snowboard bindings and surf shorts with big flames down the sides. I understand what the word’s trying to get at but attempting to affix this label flounders on the same slippery slope as Justice Potter Stewart grappling with a definition for hard-core pornography. Know it when you see it, etc.

Brand: Instead of company. Comes off a little high-falutin’, or maybe like the product of an overheated marketing 101 lab session. Rather than make things, it must also be things, perhaps to certain people at certain times and for certain favors to be delivered at an agreed upon date.

SKUs: Here you toddle down the path to the strange and surreal dimension of retail merchandising acronyms. SKU stands for stock-keeping unit, and can be used to refer to Es Schemes or other products kept in a store for sale to customers. Confusingly, a shoe* can be a SKU, and a SKU can also be a shoe, or in other cases a hat or even a Hurley sticker.

*such as an Es Scheme

Does Liking The Plan B Am Clip More Because Of The Music Make This Blog Even More Shallow Than It Already Is?

July 20, 2010

If Boil the ocean had its druthers, which would probably be unwise for any number of reasons, companies that fail the Darwinian test would be relegated forevermore to the land of copers, Rip Grip and Vision berets. I may not have been as big a Menace fan as the Police Informer or as into 101 as was Bobshirt, but those companies and others* hold a dear place in my heart that trembles now and then when somebody floats the idea of a resurrection. Touring the old material via a DVD box set or run of graphics is one thing, sullying the legacy by repurposing something pivotal to a specific era for a new time/place/branding opp is another altogether dudes.

You could make some interesting arguments as to why Plan B might constitute an exception, like how it was kinda mercenary in the first place when it came to the team-building, the squad maybe not as tight-knit or the graphics being hit or miss over the years. At this point though the second generation has been around nearly as long as the first, and kinda like the Simpsons, the golden years are so far removed as to make it sort of pointless to complain anymore. Mixed feelings aside though, credit ought to be handed over to any company that can make a legitimate claim to fielding its generation’s uber-team, as squishy a concept as that may be, and more for managing to hang onto most of them for longer than a couple years. The aftermath can be harsh, see also Es shoes, Powell Peralta, and, ah, the first Plan B.

All this being an especially longwinded and meandering run-up to a brief discourse on the new lil amateur-focused clip Plan B put out last week, highlighting the considerable talents of Scott Decenzo and Felipe Gustavo, neither of whom were born when Plan B started coming together, I bet. But upon a couple semi-distracted watches I’m prepared to deem this thing the most Plan B-est video that D&C have turned out in the post-Y2K. The Bad Religion and Del have something (a lot) to do with this, and I think I’m ok with that, if you are.

There’s other stuff, like the random movie sample and some nicely indignant kick-out footage, but the Plan B hallmark also is there in the appropriately ridiculous level of skating. Scott Decenzo, one half of the Canadien flying Decenzo brothers, has been tagged with the “good but boring” brush and some of these clips (like the frontside noseslide pinwheels) suggest he’s reading his press with a curled lip and furrowed brow. There’s pretty serious and/or wacked out stuff in here like the elusive switch frontside hurricane and the frontside boardslide to hurricane grind, which seems like a super risky trick and turned out way better on video than I thought it would.

Felipe Gustavo, who gains additional 1990s points for pushing nice flatground frontside flips and keeping alive the cocked-hat style**, shifts the intensity to the wax-laden ledges and confirms that nollie frontside noseslide 270 shove-its are among the prerequisites for getting paid by Danny Way these days. This section I think is a good argument for why the current approach to videos, like taking three years to film a five/six-minute section, can be the wrong one–five minutes of this little dude’s ledge magicks would’ve been pretty numbing, but the two and a half minutes allotted here is just right and judiciously saves up the truly zany stuff for a grand slam breakfast of a finish that may or may not include a hardflip backside noseblunt in a line. That nollie flip backside noseblunt was another one that worked out a lot better on film than I would’ve thought.

*Not so much Seek, though
**Also DJ Drama

1990s Antique Roadshow: Sony Boombox With World Stickers

March 8, 2010

Conceived one morning while pondering the 15-year-old sticker on an electric shaver, here we have the first in what surely may become a gripping and emotional saga of valuable items from the internet’s favorite decade that have managed not to get thrown out in the last 10-20 years.

It is either a miracle or sad state of affairs that this thing has lasted from around the release of “Love Child” to the present, especially with its wonky (and loud) 6-CD loader mechanism. But it’s still going and continues to pull double-duty advertising one defunct skateboard company and another that may as well have been for a period of time, Creager and Craig’s dedication notwithstanding. Time and listless brand management have tarnished the Gonz’s baby but I can still occasionally look at the OG Blind logo and get all wistful for the Trilogy period, and few companies have ever matched the aesthetics of the MNC star, all subsequent Kareem efforts especially included.