The relationship between athletes and non sports-related companies is a weird codependent one. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll just write about drink brands and skating because I know them both well, but this applies to all influencer marketing. Skaters do not drink energy drinks, yet energy drinks (and nike) put more money into skating than any other brands. Red bull sells more product because of their sponsorship. In theory, it’s a profitable relationship.
We recently put this advert in a skate magazine. As a skater, I saw it as natural to try to become the first drinks brand that was made by skaters for skaters, but we came to realise that it’s kind of unnecessary. Also Villager have tried this with the biggest pro skaters in the world and it still feels forced. We’re not a skate brand, we’re a coffee brand.
Energy drink companies should be supporting events that can benefit from the supply of energy drinks (and money), but they shouldn’t have these weird contracts with their “athletes” and “influencers” in which they need to be wearing their logo and all the other strange clauses they have. With Solo, we hope to support and give back to events, projects, creators, athletes and anyone who we feel inspired by and might benefit from some cold brew. We don’t want anything in return, but also even if we did want something in return it would be out of our control. The summary of this advert is that we do not want to impose any kind of relationship with a skater to sell more of our product, we want to support skating, but I feel sponsorship is not the way to go about it. It is insincere and an attempt to sell more product through deceit.
We want our coffee to taste good and caffeinate people, we want it to become a necessity to most but because it is a good product not because we’ve paid a famous person to drink it. We’ve sponsored a Vague issue launch party, we support Clash, we’ve got a few art/music/fashion events we’re getting involved with. But all because we want to support, not because we want to benefit. Don’t give expecting to receive.
I feel this should hopefully be relatable to all food and drink companies. Forget what the marketing books say, influencer marketing is transparent, insincere and on its way out. What a certain subculture eats or drinks is mostly out of your control. Red bull is mostly drunk by lorry drivers on the motorway, skaters drink cheap beer. On another note, Roger Federer did not win Wimbledon because he has a clean shaven face. Sponsorship is weird.
Masters of one is our way of showing appreciation for people that deserve it. Not paying people off to promote our product. Coffee helps people to do their thing, if we can help where possible we will, not against anyone’s will.