Advertising-the subject of much debate. Should the Army advertise in a skateboard mag? Should cell-phone providers? What about politics? Is that next? Schwarzenegger wants your vote in ’08? Well, let’s forget the kooks outside our world for a second. The following is a selection of the most influential campaigns run in skate mags over the years when it wasn’t all about the Benjamins. In fact, the following ten were probably more entertaining than the editorial. And they also changed skateboarding forever.-Mackenzie Eisenhour
1. Company: Plan B, 1991
Ad: Team Lineup Announcement
This one hit skateboarding like a Mack truck full of grenades. The names on the page were the cream of the crop in professional skateboarding at the time-Tony Hawk, Jeremy Klein, Frankie Hill, Rick Howard, Mike Carroll, Sean Sheffey, Matt Hensley, Danny Way, and the rest. This is one of the sole times when an ad with absolutely nothing but a list of names in black and white along with the words, “Five of these pros are leaving their current sponsors to form a new company,” had such a monumental impact.
2. Company: Shorty’s, 1993
Ad: Rosa In A Bed Of Bolts
This gem ran as a fold out in Big Brother during the glory days of that very magazine’s lax censorship policy before it was purchased by Larry Flynt in ’97. Rosa Esperanza Gonz† lez, now the schoolteacher of a lucky class of eighth graders in Northern California, became skateboarding’s ultimate pin-up girl for the 90s-subsequently helping build the Shorty’s brand from simply bolts to a full-on board company.
3. Company: Blind, 1991
Ad: Dear George
In an open letter to George Powell, Mark Gonzales makes the best of Rocco-style sarcasm by confessing, at the height of the crumbling “Big Three” versus “low-budget little companies” war, that Blind Skateboards was wrong to exist as a “little company” and will now officially be known as “not a small company.” The accompanying classic Powell parody graphics and upside down Powell logo were simply hilarious. P.S. Do you think I should kill myself?
4. Company: Alva Skates, 1978
Ad: Tony Silhouette
After TA blew the hell up with the Z-Boys and the much-told story of the Dogtown Chronicles, he made the ultimate rock star glam move after founding his namesake company and hired famed fashion photographer Raul Vega to direct the high-quality campaign. That very campaign has been showcased in museums and photography-gallery shows numerous times since.
5. Company: Droors Clothing, 1994
Ad: Rob Dyrdek In Paint
Droors Clothing, the 90s mainstay that gave birth to DC Shoes (a.k.a. Droors Clothing Shoes),. had a number of innovative ads within this campaign, including Ronnie Bertino smoking about a pack of cigarettes at once, Danny Way in a mock Calvin Klein ad, and Dyrdek getting doused in blue paint alongside a host of other portrait-based layouts. But Dyrdek’s is the most memorable.
6. Company: Anti Hero, 1997
Ad: On A Negative Trip
There have been so many epic Julien Stranger hand-penned Anti Hero ads over the years that it is nearly impossible to single out a hands-down winner. However, the feel and self-loathing, give-a-f-k style remains as classic to skateboarding as any campaign to date-Julien’s handwriting becoming as emblematic as the eagle logo itself.
7. Company: World Industries, 1990
Ad: Nice Ad!
Rocco was the master of turning his weaknesses (a.k.a. lack of funds) and his pointed opinions (a.k.a. hatred of the big companies in the industry and censorship), and this ad displays both of those qualities to a tee. Claiming that both his other ad ideas were turned down, one for obscenity and the other for industry politics, he makes all his foes look the stupider by running this-nothing.
8. Company: Santa Cruz Speed Wheels, 1988
Ad: Roskopp Slimeball Vomits
Jim Phillips was not only the master of Santa Cruz’s legendary 80s board graphics likee the Jason Jessee Neptune or Jeff Grosso Alice In Wonderland classic. He also helped design some of the most outrageous, high-end production ads at the time including this masterpiece of Rob Roskopp ralfing on a wheel aptly called the “Slimeball Vomit” by Santa Cruz-owned Speed Wheels.
9. Company: Toy Machine, 1997
Ad: I Will Serve Bloodsucking Companies
Much like Julien Stranger’s Anti Hero campaign, Ed Templeton’s Toy Machine hand-drawn ads have, for years, been a staple of skateboarding’s individuality and separation from what deodorant companies advertising in our very magazines have deemed cool. Always with a number of subliminal messages (check the inside back cover of this very issue), Ed deserves a mention on principle.
10. Company: Girl/Chocolate, 1996
Ad: Brothas From Different Mothas
Andy Jenkins, Rick Howard, Spike Jonze, Andy Mueller, and the rest of the Art Dump have displayed through the years an infinite supply of wit and top-drawer quality. This mock film poster ad and the fact that it accompanied a real-life skit in Mouse (’96) is a prime example of not only the high production values, but also the hilarious subject matter consistently served up by the Girl/Chocolate family.
Powell Peralta’s 80s campaigns (Craig Stecyk III), Alien Workshop since day one (Neil Blender, Mike Hill, Don Pendleton, Joe Castrucci), Volcom, enjoi, OG Zoo York (Eli Gesner), 101 (Natas Kaupas).