As it’s summer and snowboard content is typically lacking we’ve been blessed to have the annual Battle of the Brands from mega publication Snowboarder Magazine. In this proverbial battle, video edits from sixteen brands are pitted against each other in a winner-take-all voters choice of who had the best riding and editing set to the background of Super Park. This seems like a simple straight forward contest utilizing a Facebook app to capture the votes and comments, but subversively this is actually a lesson in American Politics.
The title Battle of the Brands is catchy and plays off the concept of battle of the bands, something the subculture of snowboarding can relate to. Although as snowboarding has stepped further away from its counter culture and into the mainstream it also takes on the literal meaning of who is the best brand regardless of video production and level of riding. This puts the talent both in editing and riding at the background and the brands mainstream image at the forefront.
So it’s here that the political lines have been drawn: Core Vs Mainstream. Who will decide the fate of what is cool in snowboarding? Which party do you align yourself with? As the battle comes to a close we take a look at the last two brands involved and their different strategies.
The question amongst the core snowboard parties collective mind is how has Never Summer, a brand that notoriously does not utilize their riders marketing potential to its fullest made it into the finals. Having beaten out heavy weight Burton in round one, European powerhouse Nitro for round two, and the fun loving outerwear company Airblaster in the semi-finals.
Pushing the American made aspect through their various social media channels it is clear that they wanted this battle to be a literal one between the brands and not let the riding and editing speak for itself. Through their campaign they championed the battle ground state of Colorado to gain the majority vote. It was through a heartfelt approach to their loyal fan base that voters packed the polls to back this companies message of being pro American.
As their main tactic has been to make this a literal battle it wouldn’t be complete without anti-opponent messages.
While hot off their loss one Burton employee who asked to remain anonymous said, “I would be curious to see the birth certificates of their ‘American’ employees.”
Josh Parker the marketing guru at The Foundry (US Distributor of Nitro) was quoted as saying [Taken from Facebook], “A quality product is a quality product no matter where it is made. Thinking something is better just because it’s made in the US is ignorant and outdated. Not to say great things aren’t made in the USA, because they are. However, that has nothing to do with what this contest is about. Its about the riding and editing, neither of which NS was better than Arbor.”
On the other side of the snowboarding political spectrum we have Arbor. A brand that had to reinvent itself or risk disappearing from the snowboard landscape only a few short years ago. They dominated shoe company DC in round one, flew past Mervin in round two, and narrowly beat out last years winner Capita.
Arbor went a different route with their campaigning. Knowing fully well that this was about the riding and editing they pushed their riders to the forefront of their social media channels. Team riders became the face introducing you to the brand with the message of “hey if you think we’re cool vote for us”.
Even in the final round they aren’t touting anything but the riders and the fact it’s a video contest. This shows their understanding that the riders and filmers are what this is about.
Attempting to find anything disparaging about their competitors has been hard. Seems Arbor has gone the moral high road instead.
To quote Brad Farmer their marketing director right off Facebook, “I’m pretty sure we all love America and we all snowboard so Colorado is dope too. This here is video contest so lets all vote for the best video.”
Now as the political parties of BroChad and TightPants rally the final cry to push for video dominance it is your collective duty in this shredmocracy to make an educated decision on who has the better edit in this video contest. Will it be Never Summer with their campaign built around your board or Arbor who is pushing their team to the forefront?
Time is running out so vote here!