Monthly Archives: September 2008

cw trek – no commercials, no spam, no kidding

This week Cycle World summons riders from across the globe to again gather in the fabulous Sierra Nevadas for the annual installment of the legendary Trek offroad adventure.

As in year’s past I’ll travel from the comfort of sea level 362 days of the year to 8,000 feet give or take and a chance to freeze my butt off, ride hours in sleet, get soaked to the bone, eat enough dirt to start a large sized garden, and otherwise get back to basics.

Trek is the great leveler. I’m packed, psyched and ready for the challenge.

harden to husqvarna

Powersports industry headliner Scot Harden moves from KTM back to Husqvarna, where his corporate involvement with off road riding first got its start.

After charting KTM’s performance course for the past 20 years, a stint that includes significant Baja and Dakar marketing coups that linked the orange and black mark with energy drink apex predator Red Bull, Harden will now split his time between his West Coast home in Temucula and Husqvarna’s New Jersey headquarters.

ouch! anybody got a bandaid?

Nobody saw this one coming. Hurricane Ike, weeks in the making, barreled through the Caribbean, Galveston and Houston before slopping over Indianapolis Motor Speedway just in time to intersect the inaugural running of the Indianapolis Red Bull MotoGP.

The event marked a resumption of motorcycle racing at the historic venue, which last hosted a contest back in 1909.

Estimated at over 91,000, the crowd braved torrential rain and wind to witness the premiere event. Viewers were treated to the impossiblity of high speed riding that more closely resembled two-wheeled water skiing before finally being red flagged eight laps from the finish.

Get complete details from Cycle World, along with a first ever web cast press conference, here and here.

another sign of the (digital) times

Ad Age reports Battle Creek cereal maker Kellogg has broken the digital ROI marketing code for it’s Special K brand. With a combined ad/promo budget in the general zip code of $1.3B, that’s a lot of return.

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interactive wow factor squared

We claim to dabble in webology, but sites like uber designer Marc Ecko’s fresh new interactive wonderment compels us to kneel down and kiss the hem of URL guru WDDG’s robe. Those cats are sooo good.

WDDG. Stands for World Domination Design Group. If you’re gonna’ talk the talk, you’d better be able to serve up some nifty code. And Bob’s your uncle, their product absolutely screams Master of the Universe.

As digital technology and technique really begin to merge we see the outlines of a new communications paradigm. If the early days of the web were about reproducing print pages onscreen and adding a few frills, design firms like WDDG are clearly the mapmakers as to how corporate communications will be projected in the future.

Indeed, Ecko’s retail sites are an education in extending brand management while maintaining individuality.

The raw ingredients – visual art, sound and copy – don’t change. But how they relate, and how they’re presented, are the keys to effectiveness. Contextual experience, anyone?

the weird art of not so subliminality

Notwithstanding the excellence of the Shark helmet itself, corporate marketing to North America follows a different metric than that followed by Coke. Or Yugo, for that matter.

We’re not going to beat the French up for this particular instance of bizarre imagery, not when that country is head and shoulders above us in using perkily great topless billboards to sell what you got.

But whoever’s behind this latest in a series of just plain goofy juxtapositions needs a hard shove out the door. (When they added a Canadian distributor a few years back, the event was accompanied by umbrella booth girls clad in, wedding dresses, followed by print ads as something slightly less sophisticated than The Club for cars.)

Now it seems as though “Protect Your Crotch!” is all that’s missing from the wordless lips of Mr. Crash Test Dummy and his androgenous package sidekick. The cruel irony here is that suddenly the universal refrain uttered by women everywhere – that all men think with their appendage – may, in fact, be the real inspiration behind this messy message.