Today’s misadventure in the use of mountain biking for marketing and advertising purposes is brought to you by Rustoleum!
In the latest issue of Popular Mechanics, Rustoleum has an ad for their NeverWet waterproof coating. Not surprisingly, the ad features mountain biking and declares NeverWet as the ideal solution for muddy rides where dirt sticks to your bike and water works its way into the bearings and corrodes everything right to hell. In fact, the ad even proclaims that “If you’re not getting mud and water in every crevice of your mountain bike, sorry but you’re not really mountain biking.”
Jeez, where do I even begin? I could write an entire chapter on trail advocacy – avoiding muddy trails in order to prevent erosion and increase sustainability, IMBA’s rules of the trail, etc. But responsible trail use doesn’t portray the “aggro” image (and stereotype) that makes mountain biking so popular as an advertising tool.
Then there’s a short video at DIYtransformation.com depicting Towner Dyer going on a mountain bike ride, which conveniently enough involves walking the bike through all of the stream crossings that would typically cover a bike in mud. Of course Towner Dyer isn’t riding the bike – it’s not his. It’s also not a mountain bike. The bike in the photos and video is a 2013 Trek Neko S which is a hybrid bike designed for a mix of paved and unpaved trails. It’s also a women’s specific model. Normally I wouldn’t consider that a big deal, except for Rustoleum’s previous claims about what constitutes “really mountain biking.”
Why this doesn’t work: If you’re TRULY trying to cater to the mountain biking demographic, you have to illustrate that you have even the slightest understanding of the sport. Mountain bikers ride through shallow water crossings. They wear helmets. And they don’t go riding in denim jeans. Oh and…they generally ride MOUNTAIN BIKES.