Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Old Pro Riders coming out

I am not a pro snowboarder by any means, but I can imagine they wish to keep being involved in the snowboard industry after the golden days. Just look at Grenade, Omatic, Forum, etc...

So with this sluggish economy some pro snowboarders left by choice (or not) their sponsors to start their own projects while they still have a momentum as pros. DCP,JPS and RDM started Yes, Antti Autti started Yeah Baby Yeah and Jeremy Jones started Jones Snowboards.
Their message are similar: bringing back the snowboarder at the center of the industry, going back to the core, saying to the kids support my brand because it's core! pretty much a sugar glazed marketing ploy.

Antti even goes to say in a Transworld interview that having a sponsor "it gets to the point where you start feeling it’s a job". Come on Bro, Sponsors pay you big dough to represent them, they pay you to increase their sales and consequently being a prosnowboarder is a job. Well to most standard, snowboarding most days instead of going in an office is not exactly what we would call a boring job.

To prevent any negative technical curves, they all decided to partner with Nidecker who has a solid manufacturing reputation.

Nidecker's message has never been extremely appealing to the youth, unlike Rome, Ride, Lib Tech. So by creating the NDF Creative umbrella, partnering to these well known pros could help Nidecker's brand. So hopefully those Pro boards will be sold for the core market while Nidecker board could be mainly mainstream market and grab more market share in the core market.

Not all pros have the desire to start a new company but for the most talented it is certainly tempting. However having more and more pros getting their own brand, it will water down the message of "being core, buy from snowboarders" and will minimize the authencity of their messages.

An additional risk is that kids know that those boards are developped by Nidecker, so they have realized that their risks are minimal, it sounds more like a Pro model with an additional "I started my own company" hype. The youth love anti-hero, someone who has the balls to risk everything and start from scratch. While being incredible riders, that may not be enough to give them this anti hero status.

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