So last night I sat down and did something I haven’t done in a good ten years. I read a magazine straight through cover to cover. I amongst a slew of other people have been anxiously waiting to get our hands on the new issue of Dig which is an all trails issue, well kind of. So since it was still going to be a bit before it hit the newsstands, I decided to download it on my iPad. This was a first for me and honestly I kind of liked it. That’s a whole different topic though.
The first thing that caught my attention as I swiped to the first page was a shoe ad with Bruno Hoffman doing a rail ride. I thought to myself that that was kind of weird, but oh well. Next page swipe, hmm an ad for a Devon Smillie signature frame. Dude’s definitely not known for riding trails, and that frame is definitely geared for street. Interesting advertising choices for an all trails issue. At this point I was wondering to myself if it was indeed an all trails issue or was it just going to be an issue heavy on trails content. Next swipe, ok the table of contents with a picture of a bunch of dudes sitting around at Posh. Well everything listed here is all related to trails, so this is indeed an all trails issue. So then I move onto the next page, and what greets me? An Animal add with Lino Gonzalez grinding around a curved rail! Ok WTF! Maybe none of the advertisers got the memo that this was going to be a “Trails Issue”?
I’ll spare you the breakdown on every single ad that I came across as I made my way though the magazine. Lets just say this. Of the 16 ads in Dig issue 98, only 2 of them had anything to do with trails, or even dirt for that matter. One being an ad for United‘s Indirect Tyre, and one for Chain Reaction with Benny Hennon spinning a jump in Malta. Every other ad was either for completely non-trails related things (ie pegs, street frames, skateparks) or featured non-trails riders riding street or park. Seriously there were two ads for pegs in there! What sense does that even make? That’s like Dockers putting up a billboard in the middle of the hood.
Now, I’m no marketing genius or financial guru but to me there’s some serious problems here. Lately all you hear about pertaining to the BMX industry is how times are tough, budgets are tight, and everyone is cutting back. Now to me that would mean companies need to spend their money more wisely. So is running an ad for a set of pegs or a street frame in a magazine issue completely devoted to trails a smart way to spend money? I’d have to say that’s a negative. So either this BMX budget crisis is completely fabricated and companies have tons of expendable capitol to throw away on ads that will fall on blind eyes, or there’s something else at work here.
Enter my conspiracy theory. All these non-trails related ads are there to try to subliminally influence us trail riders to convert to disciplines of riding that are more profitable to companies. You know ones where people actually replace their bikes and parts more than every 5-10 years.
In all seriousness though, I absolutely loved Dig’s latest “Trail Issue” but I was definitely let down by the content of the ads in it. This would have been a great opportunity for companies to showcase the trail riders they support or the products they make that are geared towards trails. Now I know that some companies have multi-issue advertising agreements already in place, and maybe they are companies that don’t make trails related stuff or support any trails riders. I get that. You know, what are they going to do? I mean if I were the owner, or TM, or whatever I’d tell one of the street rats to take off the pegs, throw on some brakes, and get ready to huck yourself over a jump cause we have an ad to shoot. But that’s just me, and really what do I know?