Sunday, January 25, 2015

The X Games are a Mecca for action sports brands

Can you count how many different brands are represented in this short video? In just three minutes, we see more than 15 logos, even though the focus of the video is Danny Davis and his success at the X-Games, not how many sponsors he has.

Companies can use events like the X-Games as a way to advertise and promote their products. Action sports, like snowboarding, are really the only sports where competing brands are represented on the same spectrum.

For instance, when looking at Danny Davis, we see Burton, Analog and Dragon Alliance, to name just a few. These brands are all competitors in the same industry. They make similar products and cater to the same consumers, but are collectively represented by Davis. We don't see this as much in other sports. When it comes to apparel, if an athlete is sponsored by Nike, you wouldn't catch them dead wearing Adidas. With action sports, it doesn't seem to be that way.

Additionally, these brands use events like the X Games as opportunities for PR and advertising campaigns. For instance, this year, Jeep was the premier automotive sponsor of ESPN’s X Games. The company used this opportunity to launch their new “Jeep Wrangler X Edition”, inspired by X Games athletes. Because the audience that attends the event, Jeep worked well as a sponsor because the people who attend the X Games are the type of people who would want an all-weather, off-roading car. While Jeep isn’t an action sports brand, the company was very smart in using the X Games as a way to reach a larger audience. Read more about Jeep and its campaign here.

Events and festivals are the perfect opportunity for brands to gain positive PR. By capitalizing on these opportunities and being aware of their customers, these brands can gain a larger following and learn more about their audience. 

Would you buy Chanel cupcakes?

It is remarkable how attractive a product can look with a certain logo stamped on it. I wouldn’t classify myself as a materialistic consumer, however, after reading this article about a project done by Israeli artist, Peddy Mergui, I have really noticed how attractive a logo can be. When looking through the photos, I caught myself saying things like, “Tiffany’s yogurt, that’s so cute!” As embarrassing as it is, as a consumer, I think I would definitely buy Prada flour or Apple iMilk. I wouldn’t do this because of the label so much as because of the packaging.

The luxury food market has seemed to have much of its success because the packaging is visually appealing. For instance, blk. water, a jet-black drink loaded with vitamins and electrolytes, is sold in a simple bottle with a modern and trendy logo. Similarly, the popular boxed water prides itself on being environmentally friendly, and has simple and attractive packaging.

By using the colors and typical style of the chosen brand, Mergui makes the products for his art project much more visually appealing than whatever we typically see on the shelves. This is what creates the market for these seemingly ridiculous products. Even though the quality may not be as good, there are a lot of people who would buy these things anyway (for instance, myself).

I find myself choosing body wash at Target based off of the packaging, even though it is my experience that the cute packages definitely do not have the soap inside. But when the attractive packaging is coupled with a quality product, what’s not to love? If brands were to promote luxury foods, as shown in Mergui’s project, and the foods actually tasted good, it would be a huge success.

While these things all seem ridiculous, these companies are creating positive PR. Branching out into other industries and making the brand reflect the surrounding lifestyle of their consumers is how companies can get people’s attention and expand their audience. By making luxury foods, designer brands would doing just that: branching out into a different industry and catching the consumer's eye in a different way. 

Personally, I have tried blk. water, I obsess over Veuve Clicquot’s fabulous Instagrams of skis, shoes and trucks with the their logo, and I know that I would buy Apple iMilk if it was actually sold in stores. I think there is absolutely a market for luxury food promotion, it is a smart PR tactic that companies should adopt.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Getting Started

When asked to pick a topic for my public relations blog, I panicked a bit, and struggled to choose just one specific thing. I am interested in a variety of industries and have given a lot of thought to the type of company I want to work for when I graduate in the spring.

My goal is to do PR for a lifestyle brand or agency. Many lifestyle companies have a blog that focuses on all that the brand stands for and the other interests of its customers, aside from just the denim. One of my favorites is Levi's. Levi's uses this platform to communicate with its customers and incorporate the culture surrounding the brand.

I love the idea of doing PR for a clothing company whose brand focuses on much more than just the product. By focusing their image around the surrounding lifestyle of the product and the interests of their target audience, companies can involve themselves in a variety of different artistic industries, such as fashion, music, design, DIY projects, etc.

I have chosen to base this blog around branding and communicating in the action sports industry. Most action sports brands directly reflect the type of company that I want to work for. Their success began by making clothing, but they have evolved into much more than that. They sponsor athletes, produce films, put on events and much more. Because of their involvement in many different industries, these companies have a variety of different ways to keep up a positive PR image.

My personal life reflects the reason companies like this are so interesting to me. I love live music, I'm interested in fashion, I keep up with the latest trends, I stay up to date with popular culture, and I love outdoor sports.

It's easy for me to involve myself in these different attractions, but I am constantly changing my mind on which one I like the most. Similarly, it fascinates me how a brand can be so eclectic, stick its nose in a variety of different industries, and cohesively communicate these ideas across a wide spectrum.

Over the next seven weeks, I will be discussing how action sports companies communicate ideas with their audiences through blogs, media coverage, PR campaigns, success stories and crises. Keep up with my blog to learn all about how they do what they do.