Skateboard branding and marketing is all over the place these days. From the completely minimal to the super loud brand endorsements – and between what goes down on the actual streets and at Street League – there’s a million ways in which brands are trying to get people hyped on their products and brand.

With this in mind, we were curious to know how different generations consume skate media, and how the marketing within alters their perceptions and opinions. Doing our own “market research” we found a range of skaters aged from 16 to 33 years old willing to chop it up. For those Marketing Managers or Sales dudes out there reading this, you’re welcome ;).

Name: Garret
Age: 16
Year you started skating: 2009
First video you saw: Fully Flared

Is there any logo or branding you don’t mind or particularly like?
I like the Hockey branding in Hockey II. Their brand name is on the screen a few times for the first ten seconds of the video and then is never shown again throughout the whole video.

What about the shots of Hockey boards or Hockey-specific art direction throughout the video?
The shots of Hockey boards in the video is a little annoying, but the Hockey art is fine. It’s just the “theme” of the company.

What specific video branding bothers you?
I really hate it when you go on a video on Adidas or Nike SB and try to watch a part and the whole time you’re watching there’s a Nike or Adidas watermark in the bottom right corner. I think even Thrasher does it. It’s really irritating when the whole time you’re watching someone’s part there is a watermark in the corner. I don’t think I would ever give someone a pass for doing that.

What about the different types of logos you might see in a skate video, like sticker placement, a logo on a shirt, something flashed across the screen… Is there any sort of logo presence you’d consider totally wack?
Honestly, the only shirt and stickers I really hate seeing are the Red Bull ones, because I know Red Bull makes all their skaters have them on at all times. I would only watch a video with branding in every clip if I really wanted to watch the video and it had a lot of skaters that I liked in it.

Think of all your favorite videos growing up, and the branding you may (or may not) have noticed as a kid. Did it bother you then? How about now?
As a kid, I definitely did not notice branding within a skate video. When I saw branding in a skate video that I liked, it would definitely make me want to buy their apparel. I loved Fully Flared when I was growing up, and I still kind of like some parts, and when I was younger the only shoes I would buy were Lakais. Now, if I see a logo in a skate video, I just know they’re trying to advertise their company, which I am fine with. If I really like their video I might just go buy some of their apparel.

Name: Judah
Age: 17
Year you started skating: 2007
First video you saw: 411: Hotdogs On Wheels

What do you think about the branding in skate videos?
I feel that in the current state of skateboarding, logo placement and branding in skate videos is pretty necessary, although it can be easily overdone. I think that company logo advertising along with the video’s overall theme can either make or break the vid. But I mean, flashing your logo every other minute for sure makes sense when it comes to making some sort of a profit.

Is there any logo or branding technique you particularly like or favor?
These days there’s so many companies putting out rad stuff, and it’s especially sick because everyone has their own style and shit they’re into. Currently I’ve been hyped on all the Deluxe brand vids, the latest Strobeck films, and all the Bru-ray Thrasher videos for sure. I think the whole Bru-Ray thing is rad because there really is no specific brand being represented. It’s just real skating, real experience type of shit. I don’t see it as an advertising outlet, but Thrasher definitely gets spotlighted.

I’m backing the whole unofficial, yet present, brand representation in videos, like in the Johnny Wilson edits. Honestly, I feel that’s the new wave of company advertising as a whole.

Name: Noah
Age: 20
Year you started skating: 2003-2004
First video you saw: Yeah Right!

What do you think about the branding in skate videos?
I am indifferent on it. When it comes down to it, skate videos are marketing tools. You watch them so you can see the skating, but it also gives the company an opportunity to display their brand. It’s exactly like an advertisement, yet you are choosing to watch them instead of being forced to. It really just depends if the person watching the video likes what is being shown.

What specific brand marketing bothers you, and what brands do you give a pass?
I personally do not like soda or energy drink logo placements in videos due to the simple fact that I do not consume those products. Also, that kind of logo placement may communicate the wrong idea to the viewer. I highly doubt the people sponsored by these companies are drinking their products while they’re skating, but it may communicate that message to the viewer.

What about types of logos? Do you have any thoughts or preferences on pre-footage logo flashes, or an abundance of clothing logos?
A pre-footage logo flash doesn’t bother me, it’s a strategic move marketing-wise for a company to do so. When it comes to clothing, I do have a preference where I prefer a minimal amount of clothing logos. In my opinion, it looks cleaner and keeps the focus solely on the skating.

Is logo placement so ingrained within skateboarding culture that to not see any of it is jarring?
Logo placement has become very normalized, so watching a video without any of it may seem abnormal. I like to think that skate videos are the best way for companies to exert influence over the viewers. It may be detrimental for the company if there is no logo placement since this is the best way for them to market to consumers.

Name: Mikey
Age: 23
Year you started skating: 3rd or 4th grade
First video you saw: Misled Youth

What do you think about the heavy branding in some skate videos today?
I haven’t ever really thought too much about it, but I don’t think it’s really bad. In the case of Emerica, I think it might be beneficial. I kind of like the green tint, but that might also be because This is Skateboarding was really big to me as a child. If the video were made by Red Bull or something not skater owned, I’d probably be a little annoyed.

If certain brands placed less emphasis on logos in their videos, do you think you’d like them more or less?
I would like them more. I understand it is important for companies to advertise, like that’s how they make money, but if they find a way to advertise their brand without just shoving a logo on something, it’s way cooler.

If you were to realize that a particular video was an “unofficial” brand endorsement, would you look at it differently?
I actually like the way that works out, especially when it’s Nike. Nike is a huge ass brand that is not originally rooted in skateboarding, so staying in the background is way more respectable of them. Or shit, maybe it’s sneaky, but those edits are sick and I like that it’s not obvious.

Name: Maranda
Age: 24
Year you started skating: 2003
First video you saw: Elementality

What do you think about the branding in skate videos?
Branding in skate videos is beneficial to the brand, solely. I don’t believe that its ever been beneficial to the actual video because I think most skaters watch them for pure entertainment and inspiration. I believe a more realistic approach [to skating] makes me want to jump on my board. The smaller brands seem to have a better grasp on this concept and I believe they are doing well because of it.

If certain brands placed less emphasis on logos in their videos, do you think you’d like them more or less?
I would like them more, and that’s true in the brands I prefer. I can’t appreciate the video if the brand is too flashy. Even the opening credits can affect my decision to continue watching or not. I prefer to just see the skater wearing/using the product to reflect the brand or show the brand at the end of the video, otherwise it doesn’t seem authentic.

The only thing that ever bothers me is when a skater always wears their biggest brands, even when skating in their other team’s video. For instance, Leticia Bufoni always wears Nike and Nyjah Huston constantly wears Monster in every event and video.

Do you think a rejection of skateboard marketing and branding is playing a role in the rise of successful independent skate videos?
Definitely. Many smaller brands are going towards a more authentic look, which is preferable to me. Unfortunately, it requires me to look even harder for the brand and sometimes it’s missed.

Name: Ryan
Age: 28
Year you started skating: around 12-13 years old
First video you saw: Art Bars: Subtitles and Seagulls

What specific video branding bothers you?
Rip N Dip is completely offensive. When brands use skating to appeal to an audience outside of skateboarding, that can be fishy. Perhaps that’s why folks feel a certain way about Supreme; they’re reaching for something more, via skateboarding. Pass-Port, Polar, Toy Machine… I give them all free reign. Pass-Port in particular, their graphics and editing are pretty innovative in my opinion.

What factors come into play when shaping your opinion on a brand and their marketing approach?
Mostly it’s an aesthetic concern. I would consider that art, graphics, fonts, color schemes, choices in music, fashion, etc. I think there are also questions of identity (race, age, gender, etc.) at play: like, do I identify with the skaters on screen?

Think of all your favorite videos growing up, and the branding you may or may not have noticed as a kid. Did it bother you then? How about now?
No, because I was more tuned in to the skating then. Fulfill the Dream has all sorts of goofball branding going on, but I hardly noticed. Watching it now, it’s obvious. They were just trying to sell riser pads to middle schoolers.

Do you think a rejection of skateboard marketing and branding is playing a role in the rise of successful independent skate videos?
Yes, the expectations of exposure and profit are obviously less for an independent video. Those behind the project can focus on something with a smaller, more personal scope, something more “authentic.” I think the independent video stands a little more true to the core values of skateboarding; independence (duh), creativity, resourcefulness, friendship, etc.

Name: Matthew
Age: 33
Year you started skating: 1996
First video you saw: Rolling Thunder and Non-Fiction

Do you think the branding in skate videos is beneficial or detrimental to a video as a whole?
Most great videos execute functional branding to some degree, whether through a text style utilized in ad campaigns, or by using an aesthetic consistent with the brand’s overall look. For instance, the Isle video reflects the look and feel of Isle boards. Early Isle boards had primarily been the studio photo boards that focused on the riders quirks or personality via items presented in the graphic. The video exudes the dryness that the white used on the majority of the boards created, while also pushing the character depth of each rider. I think branding is quite beneficial when used in these type of clever manners, specifically in a way that separates the video you’re watching from a “standard” way of viewing videos.

If certain brands placed less emphasis on logos in their videos, do you think you’d like them more or less?
I think all the logos and branding simply intensifies your pre-existing likes or dislikes of the brand. Either more subtle or more slapstick inclusion of logos can both work, it just comes back to appropriate execution. I really don’t believe a single logo or product placement can break a video. It is nearly impossible to distinguish where negative connections are created because of so many concurrent pushes from brands across multiple platforms.

Personally, I am a fan of the Hill Street Blues videos that Magenta has made. I have always dug that the aesthetic style of the filming and the graphic style Soy uses for Magenta products and those videos is harmonious. So for the Hill Street Blues videos, I definitely think the brand emphasis increases my enjoyment of the video.

Do you think a rejection of skateboard marketing and branding is playing a role in the rise of successful independent skate videos?
I think that success in independent skate videos was the result of skate videos being primarily created by brands as a product, not just an advertisement. When videos changed formats, it did not make sense to sell them as products if people no longer were willing to pay for them, making it unwise to spend money on producing free discs to stick in the wrap of new boards. That gave independent groups the opportunity to essentially reclaim an abandoned ship. Only people who wanted to make videos for the sake of making them did, and that sense or vibe carried over into the message, and the support picked up accordingly.

I think a lot of great videos have been made as an unofficial brand endorsements, such as the early Tiltmode Army videos. Good skateboard videos depict a moment or period in time of skating, and the products being used in that era do play an important role. Generally, if the products seem to be believed in by the people using them in the videos, and the concept of the video creates the opportunity for a like-minded group of people to come together to make a video, that seems like an overall positive result.

How have you seen branding techniques shift in the time you’ve been skating?
As a starting point, in the early nineties, I think almost all branding in videos was organic. The only exception may be the original Bones Brigade stuff, which certainly introduced the skate video as a product branding tool. Who’s to say which logo graphics and text are more aesthetically pleasing, but I think it’s a bit less challenging to distinguish which videos execute their style of branding in a way that is more consistent and complimentary to the video for the sake of the video’s watchability. One thing I have noticed in skate videos in comparison to other “marketing tools” is that the skateboarding and the construction of the video itself seems to have the potential to change opinions on brands and branding as a whole.

Comments

  1. Harvest

    April 12, 2017 3:10 pm

    Mikey wins for best shirt.

  2. The Mikey Foundation

    April 12, 2017 3:33 pm

    We love Mikey

  3. Cuchillo

    April 12, 2017 4:54 pm

    Matthew Knows ! good article

  4. phil

    April 12, 2017 4:56 pm

    i would definitively have to agree with Matthew on this one

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