For one of my classes, I was given the task of taking an aspect of myself and seeing how it was portrayed in the media. Obviously I chose skiing but then decided to broaden my topic to "extreme" sport athletes. The following youtube clips are a few great representations of "us" in the media. I've broken them down into mainstream companies' portrayal of action sports vs companies that have a personal stake in the sport they're using in their commercial. I've broken them into two categories: Pro and Con. For this blog entry, I'm sticking to strictly youtube videos but for the larger presentation I'll be using ads from magazines, newspapers, online ads, and billboards. A little scholarly but enjoy!

Pro:

Tanner Hall in the Oakley Ad - Great product placement for the goggles, plays a non punk/hip hop song, and shows Tanner as an athlete, not a punk.

Quiksilver - it's clever

Nike Skateboard - again, clever and it makes skateboarding look "cool"

Con:

Shaun White - This is Sports Center Ad - This ad takes one of action sports most recognizable faces and makes him look like a child. I understand it's meant to be a parody. However, athletes like Andy Roddick, Danica Patrick, David Wright, Derek Jeter, and Michael Jordan have all been featured in these ads and were never on the "lower end" of the joke. They always had the upper hand, making fun of the commentators. While it may be subtle, its clearly making fun of the perceived notion of skateboarders seen as punks.

Mountain Dew - These guys have always been "extreme"

Powerade -Notice the Speed Stick ad at the beginning - classic. This ad was banned but seriously what is this ad saying, "Drink Poweraide, surf tsunamis?" I'm sure the people in Sri Lanka would disagree.

CNN - Shaun White after winning the Gold Medal - Mountain Dew was the 90's version of Red Bull. Shaun gets it.

Coca Cola and Skateboarding - What would these kids do during the summer without Coca Cola. My favorite part - telling his friend to break his arm and the kids making out in the loop.

Danny Way and the car commercial: I'm not sure what to think of this one because Danny Way really is incredible at what he does. However, notice he lands flat after hitting a jump at 80 mph. Somewhere, Jake Brown is furious.

and the best one of all:

Skateboarding and acceptance of homosexuality: Now let's get this straight (no pun intended), I'm not advocating or denouncing homosexuality but this ad is clearly saying more about skateboarding than it is about homosexuality. The idea is that anyone could be gay even skateboarders. Skateboarding is an easy target here. This ad is safe because it doesn't target or offend anyone in the public eye that gets pissed with their wallet. If the two males were in the military or even football players, you have public outrage.

These are just a few of the videos I found in a quick search. My research is more heavily based in print media but I think we're seeing a trend here. The action sports featured are visually stunning. I mean, it's called ski porn for a reason. While I'm certainty not one of the anti mainstream guys, I am one that feels if we're representing a sport, lets do it the right way. It's great to poke fun of ourselves but using a sport to get across a message (accepting homosexuality) is sort of misrepresenting the sport in order to get another message across. Case in point, the 2004 election picture meant to get John Kerry the youth vote:

I'm always amazed that someone in the Kerry camp had this train of thought: "Hey, that snowboarding is pretty popular with the kids. I bet if we leak a picture of John shredding to the press, kids will vote for him. Genius!" I'm not kidding. It's why every presidential candidate (except for Obama and Hilary) has said their favorite moment as a kid was playing catch with his Dad. There are certain ideals that play up to certain people. We're now entering the realm in which skateboarding, snowboarding, and yes, skiing, are playing into the public opinion of products (which includes presidential nominees). I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing but it's certainly something we'll be seeing more of.

-Mike

And just for your own personal enjoyment: Check out this video of Sal Masakela interviewing Blink 182 and getting shat on


Opinions