Urban athletics is a pretty rubbish term imo, but it kinda fits when trying to categorise obscure outdoor activities that young(ish) people tend to like doing nowadays. There’s also a growing demand I’ve noticed within these circles for praise and reward. Largely because there isn’t much of it available out there in the realms of competitions and medals etc. So it tends to be sought after by the weak from the alpha males (or peers) of the groups. And well those at the top, are looking for praise and reward too, and generally the only way they can get it, is from their peers.
The only next step available to them is peers ‘outside’ their activity group, which tends to materialise as sponsorship by some company, often only loosely connected with an activity, looking to associate itself with (often) young people, whereby they can brand them for the rest of their lives and all the jealous people, can bitch and moan about them taking from ‘the man’ and ‘selling out’ etc.
*yawn… give it a rest.
Soo… how is this all connected to ‘getting sponsored’ like the title says then?
Well, lets face facts; you have a skill, which in most peoples eyes is pretty impressive, crowd pleasing and ‘cool’… companies want to be associated with impressive coolness, and therefore either spend vast amounts of money, trying to look cool (and often failing) or hanging their products on people that tend to be cool, without trying much.
In nutshell, companies want to be associated with:
clean, good looking, healthy, active, talented, positive, confident, role models.
That list is important to remember, cause if you honestly don’t adhere to that spec, then no matter how hard you try, you ain’t even getting a foot in the door.
Now notice I didn’t say ‘super-models’, I didn’t say ‘weathly’ or ‘intelligent’… because those things aren’t required. All companies need is a good walking talking naturally impressive ‘coat hanger’ to represent them in the social circles that they are desperate to break into… probably looking to launch a new range of catalogue products for the spring/summer 2010-11 range.
How exactly would a company do that?
well they’d probably sponsor a high profile, social media network, full of desperately seeking attention ‘media whores’ and then encourage as many of them as possible to join in their fun, spending their marketing budgets. One example would be the recent Adidas London 2012 urban athlete marketing campaign they’re running. A channel is set up on YT for people to send in their best clips. And for all those that are raising their eyebrows, in preparation of complaining about the corporate ‘machine’ taking over the fun stuff. Well, keep thinking that dim people, cause that is a perfect example of how a company with budgets available ‘reach out’ to the masses and invite them to get in contact. Once you’re in contact with them, you can begin a dialogue, and its that conversation which will add to your visibility within their company. And that’s half the battle. Getting your name and face known within the walls of the brands is where it all begins.
Another approach people aren’t aware of is through shops. Pick small shops, with products you like, Nixon Watches for example, or Billabong clothing, perhaps Fly sunglasses. Well each ‘little’ shop will have regular visits either from reps directly or to the salesmen through telephone orders, the smaller the shops, the more acquainted the owners tend to get with the distributors and employees. Now lets say over the course of a few weeks, you got chatting to your local shop owner and mentioned that you’ve a bit of an extreme flipper… photogenic like with good steez and all that shizzle. It won’t take long for you to establish a little rap-or with the guy… and once you’re on good speaking terms (buying products there helps btw) … you can start asking questions. Like do they know any reps or contacts at the distributors that you could send in some photos or portfolio for flipping, in the hope of getting a bit of supportive ‘flow’ on the go. Play the owner your show-reel, show some kick ass photos (you don’t have any?? damn, get that sorted!) … and basically work on winning the man over with your ‘grinning like you’ve just passed your driving test’ smile and witty charm.
It works, believe!
Oh and don’t give up. It’ll be tempting to do all the above to one shop and sit back and see what happens…. but nah, go to every little shop you can find, get your face in their face, make every rep, salesman, and distributor know who you are and that you’re looking to become their next clothes hanger for their 2010-11 range.
This is the common route to sponsorship. When competitions aren’t available, you gotta go directly to the source. And remember, you gotta look good, smile, laugh, be happy and be a clear notch above the rest of the wannabe’s begging for attention.
I have more to add on this subject, but got fed up typing. Might add another ‘part 2′ later.