Ad Number One: 25th Anniversary of the Specialized Stumpjumper
Why do I like this ad? For the simple fact that not even Cadillac (and yes, Cadillac makes bikes) can make their bikes look this cool. Whether you intend to ride the bike is completely immaterial. Regardless, you’re left feeling that the Stumpjumper itself is indeed the Batmobile of full-suspension mountain bikes. Instead of dreaming about clawing up the trail with this thing, you can imagine yourself moving along the bumps like a bead of morning dew runs along the contours of a leaf. Heckya!
And in case you’re curious, I did get a chance to test-ride a Specialized Epic today, albeit a large–about two inches too big for me. The green test bike performed beautifully, at least on pavement. The shock took a half-pedal stroke to stiffen up after a bunny hop but then became a solid hardtail–at least until my next curb drop off, when it immediately reacted to the increase in gravity. When the front shock was locked, there really was little or no pedal stroke absorption.
Oh yes, she will be mine … someday, I hope.
Ad Number Two: DT Swiss and ‘Pua’ Sawicki
Somehow, this ad does it for me like none other. After flipping through the magazine and seeing this, I suddenly experienced a strange urge to be cold, muddy (perhaps even bloody) and completely exhausted out on some racecourse in the middle of nowhere. I don’t even know if the premise of the ad itself "works" (really, what’s the point of ‘why worry?’), but with such a compelling picture of sport-related suffering, who cares? For once, a company (not surprisingly based in Grand Junction, where Rocky is from) has really tapped the edge of mountain biking that appeals to those who participate in the sport: pushing your limits and getting dirty doing it.
Specifically, take notice of the fact that her eyes aren’t fixed on the camera itself. Sawicki is caught late in the race with a desperate look on her face and nature all over jersey. The pro marathoner is stretching her legs to lengths most of us couldn’t imagine. It’s a thing of beauty.
As to the effectiveness of the ad, the last time I needed mountain bike wheels, I took a good, hard look at DT Swiss … at least until I discovered that each wheelset costs $1,200+. It caught my attention, and I dare say it looked cooler than most of the photos actually featured in the magazine itself.
So there you have it. What grabs you guys in a bike ad? I know we’ve more or less been down this road before, but really, what speaks to you as a rider? If the marketers knew, would they put away the pictures of people jumping concrete barriers and start trying to appeal more to the cross-country crowd? Or would they aim a little more for the road bike crowd?
I did have one other favorite bike mag ad. It was a Subaru ad, but it got scrunched before I could scan it, sorry. It showed Lancer, his face close to the handlebars in a sprint, but grinning like he was loving the lactic acid. The tagline read: "When you’re tough, every road feels flat."
P.S. Forgive my lack of content lately. Work has gotten a lot busier (I’ll be out of town for the last half of next week, in case you’re curious), and ride time takes priority over blog time. At least, it should. Ride hard!