Pet peeves? Yeah, I’ve got a few. One of them has to do with being poorly marketed to. I don’t mind people marketing to me, but for the sake of Pete do your research and use your basic intelligence to create something that will have at least a chance of reaching me.
There are over 10 million skateboarders in the United States, and approximately that many outside of the US. While certainly not the largest consumer group, it’s substantial and growing quickly. And that’s before you factor in the skateboarding dog market.
Of those 10 million skateboarders the vast majority are street skaters. That means they don’t skate ramps, pools, or the big, wavy bowls at public skateparks. They don’t ride longboards either. They skate stairs, handrails, benches, and ledges. Most of these skateboarders are around 14-15 years of age, and in addition to skateboarding they listen to punk rock, hip hop/rap, or indie music, spend time on myspace, watch skate videos, and read skate magazines.
Skateboarders are a finicky group and very much follow a herd mentality, although these days there are multiple herds rather than just one like there was 15 years ago. That is, 15 years ago all skaters wore very baggy pants, oversized shirts, rode boards with very tiny wheels, and shaved their heads. Well, maybe not all of them, but probably 95%. These days baggy is out and tight is in. Skaters wear black jeans that look like they were painted on. Not all of them, perhaps 50%, and even those who wear baggier pants have toned down how baggy those pants are.
Gum sole shoes that look like the traditional Vans shoes have replaced the more clunky, basketball-esque skate shoes that were the norm just a year or two ago, and punk rock and indie music has become more popular than hip-hop or rap, which used to be the defacto standard for skateboard videos.
Tatoos are in more so than in the past, but piercings aren’t any more popular than they’ve ever been, which isn’t much.
The Olympic-like X-Games are not representative of the skateboarding culture. To most skateboarders the X-Games are a bit of sham–the prostitution of skateboarding by a few in order to make tens of thousands of dollars while large corporations who care nothing for skateboarding make tens of millions. The anti-corporate attitude is more prevalent among older skateboarders (16+) while younger skateboarders (13 and below) aren’t aware of the business side of skateboarding and are more focused on just having a good time.
This is a brief synopsis of skateboarding at this point in time. However, large corporations that target skateboarders and other youth who can be swayed by marketing that included a skateboarding element often seem to be completely ignorant of the current state of things. They figure it’s enough to include a picture of a guy on a skateboard, when they could easily spend ten minutes to do some research and find out that by being a little more informed they can double the effectiveness of their campaign.
However, I’m torn. On the one hand I don’t like seeing moronic ad campaigns involving skateboarding, but then on the other I’m not sure I want to see non-skateboard companies effectively using skateboarding in their marketing either. Maybe I should just be keeping my mouth shut and hope they never get a clue.