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the end of the surf shop – times are a changin’

In a rare display of inter-corporate cooperation, representatives of the five major sponsors of professional surfing worldwide recently met in an undisclosed venue in New York to discuss the implications of (1) the declining popularity of the professional sport of surfing (2) the declining physical appeal of the current top five male surfers as Brand Standard Bearers (3) the inability of the sport as a whole to change as rapidly as do the world’s fashions (4) the lack of worldly awareness that is attributed to the sports followers and (5) the  2008 GFC and its continuum into 2011 and beyond.

The banner on the wall behind the 5 speakers read ‘ Beyond Skate, Surf and Ski ‘. Twenty five chosen analysts were handpicked to lead the discussion. Given the general fragility of current share prices in almost all of the companies present there was little surprise amongst the analysts that a group approach was in the interests of all the shareholders of all the companies, not to mention their own vested interest in the survival of all of the brands.

The agenda was loosly structured and very informally run. No current top-rated surfers were invited as the discussion was expected to be robust, and in their case – very subjective.

Item 1. Mick Fanning.

The specific objective here was to demonstrate the negatives associated with Mr. Fanning, in particular his photogenic qualities and general appeal. General and initial consensus agreed that he had none, none at all, as demonstrated by the image tabled at the meeting.

< – – –
Given that Mr. Fanning is the face of professional surfing – together with Mr. Slater and Mr. Parkinson – the meeting agreed that none of them are well known for any notional goodwill towards their sponsor’s clientbase. Their fans in fact. It isn’t enough to be led away from the sea on the shoulders of those you have defeated, surrounded by about a hundred hangers on and surf groupies. This is not engagement.

What this image is telling us (we are reading from the leaked minutes here) is that Mr. Fanning is big, confident and smug. That he is apparently wearing a blank T is somewhat of a blow and the position of his thumb under his chin is relatively symbolic; his smile is more of a sneer and he conveys the implication that latent physical force is his major talent. In the common parlance, ‘  Don’t fuck with me, kook. I’m out there. ‘

This is the problem you see, our problem, as kooks are our customers, and they are diminishing in annual double digits.

No doubt this is the image he would prefer his competitors to see, particularly in a close heat, but will it sell clothes to the sedentary youth of today. We think not. We know not.

All the companies present acknowledged that the hard core of amateur surfers no longer wear branded surf clothing and most of the current and remaining customer generic is young and inclined to obesity. Our most successful markets are away from the coast and these must be maintained and grown despite the identity gap that exists between the sea and the bush.

The challenge we are facing here is our re-entry into the coastal / city scene, though our target does not necessarily have to be active surfers. We must look at the wider population. We must follow the money. The last tour by Lady Ga Ga where she performed to small crowds in Sydney and at a probable financial loss nevertheless welded even more devotees to her personally and to her products. The publicity the short tour engendered, the free publicity, was enormous. Her market adores her, alas, Mr. Fanning’s does not.

The meeting also agreed that a good surfer does not necessarily make a successful ‘ pop ‘ singer – examples being Mr Tom Curren, Mr Beau Young, Mr Jack Johnson etc. Their marketing depth is bleak and narrowly focused, their talent is suspect. They drone.

~ ~ ~

The City Professional. The Friday Night Piss Artist.

This is a most neglected demographic, and one that can be possibly attributed to its current image. A representative focus group has agreed to undertake market  research into the current fashions of the 9 to 5 office worker (male) as pictured. The stockbroker, the accountant, lawyers, analysts and bankers.

< – – – image

The potential here is enormous. This demographic has money, position, influence and power. Compare it to your typical down at heel surfer who is either on the dole or on pocket money.

The meeting agreed that the one area of fashion that has never been considered is the business suit and the striped tie. the white shirt and the polished shoe. The nose pipe.

A small logo on the suit breast pocket, a subtle image on the tie, a modest monogram on the business shirt. These young men are riding the apocalyptic horses of commercial indiscretion, their disposable income is immeasurable, their greed insatiable, their sex life uncontrollable, their morals unacceptable, their pride unassailable, their wealth inestimable ….

– and we need their money.

note: If it wasn’t for the impeccable influences of  Blasphemy Rottmouth and his band of impure heraldics this would never have been written – there is a debt.

20 Comments Post a comment
  1. joe green #

    I don’t need meathead wearing headphone amping medicine ball humping barbell lifting spoiled pros.As for gaga that trans slob sucks dick.I like the idea of making pro of the suits.then after work they can paint shitty paintings and start a shitty band and take black and white pictures.Get fucked up smoke cigs and drink.Imagine the sponsors.

    July 14, 2011
  2. Rusty Steele #

    That meeting reminds me of an old term… “This is like, Monkeys Fucking Footballs.”

    Great words Peter.

    July 15, 2011
  3. Nug #

    I imagine Pete Bowes has a hound dog and a great porch for beer drinking. One can dream can’t he?

    July 15, 2011
  4. I humbly bow before thee, Mr. Bowes. Your words are like chocolate after a nice glass of Cabernet. Or perhaps a high ball of well-aged scotch after a glass of Cabernet and a pint of ale.

    July 15, 2011
  5. @Nug,

    And don’t forget the trusty dual-muzzled sawed-off that stands at the ready, next to his rocking chair… in case any of those whippersnappers step on his fresh cannabis crops.

    July 15, 2011
  6. Buccaneer #

    Pretty funny Pete. And Joe Green is alright too.

    July 15, 2011
    • bucco, rs, bruiser, nug – I’m getting a collection together here. howabout a small post on the difficulty of marketing the ‘ bra boys brand ‘ internationally?

      I’ll race ya blas – mine will be up on monday – your lads can be the judges – you in?

      July 15, 2011
      • Rusty Steele #

        I tell that thing called Lady Gaga is scary. Where does he hide his junk? Is Lady Gaga really Fanning? Just curious. Not bi-curious tho.

        July 15, 2011
      • So you say…….

        July 15, 2011
    • I’ll do my darndest with the time I have Pete. You have a the Insider’s perspective on those guys, so mine will be the Outsider’s perspective. In the end, we should all get a good kick out of eh. And a staunch pat on the back from one of our dear Abberton friends, eh?!

      Heh heh.

      May the oldes… I mean best man win!

      July 16, 2011
      • I’m ready blaster – and old age and cunning can whip the arse of youth everytime – she goes up tomorrow night – already I’m getting queer spam because of the research I had to do – do you reckon I should sign up on the queer and lesbian directory? They sent me an invite.

        btw lady g g was born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta – she’s a babe lads

        July 16, 2011
  7. @PB,

    Here’s a sampling of my take on the Bra boys from ye olden thymes:

    July 16, 2011
  8. joe green #

    team natalie wood

    July 16, 2011
  9. These pages are always a surprise. LOL

    July 16, 2011
    • This is what these roosters are like out in the surf Jo, never a quiet bloody moment ..

      July 16, 2011
  10. Thank God for this kind of press….

    July 16, 2011
  11. sjh #

    Given the current climate , this made a fine re read with my morning coffee

    January 10, 2013
    • pleasure mate, shit sticks don’t it …

      January 10, 2013

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