Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Notorious Moments of Snowboard Marketing History: Example 1

I've just realised it's the 10th anniversary of this...

That was the banner on Ride's booth at the 2004 SIA trade show which unsurprisingly whipped up a storm of backlash. They even managed to garner some negative mainstream press coverage, which is an impressive thing for an obscure company in an obscure sport at an obscure trade fair.

To resolve the controversy Ride were forced to release an official statement, which they did through a small link on the bottom of their homepage. It didn't help a great deal that the statement mostly consisted of a whole heap of flagrant bullshit:

"It has recently come to the attention of management at Ride Snowboards that a very inappropriate and insensitive statement was posted at our recent industry trade show booth. At the outset, we must be clear that our company and its employees in no way condone or otherwise support this type of activity or message. We are very disturbed by its occurrence.

Ride Snowboards apologizes to all those offended by this incident. We fully appreciate the extent of disappointment and dismay. In response to specific concerns expressed to us, we would like to clarify that this statement was in no way authorized, and we were as surprised and offended by its existence as the individuals we have recently heard from.

Throughout Ride’s 11-year history, we have always attempted to hire, educate, and maintain a non-judgmental and socially open-minded workforce and we continue to act in accordance with that goal. Accordingly, the employees responsible for this incident have been suspended without pay for a period of time, during which they have agreed to participate in a program that will heighten their sensitivity and social tolerance. Upon returning to their jobs, the individuals will remain on probationary status for an additional period of time.

Furthermore, although this incident was limited to the actions of a few, Ride Snowboards will begin to immediately re-educate all of its employees on its existing company policy of zero tolerance for any workplace harassment which includes negative conduct to an individual because of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

We have also taken steps to communicate our sentiment directly to NSIA as well as all individuals and organizations that have contacted us regarding this incident.

To those most directly offended by the statements made, our customers and the public generally, we thank you for your understanding in this matter – and again offer our sincerest apologies and commitment to zero tolerance in matters like this.


Robert Marcovitch
Ride Snowboards"

And that my friends is the finest example snowboarding has so far produced on how you royally fuck up both trade show branding and controversy resolution.

Robert Marcovitch has gone on to hold a series of handsomely paid CEO roles at the likes of K2 and Coleman.

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