Archive for the ‘Apparel’ Category

The North Face & The N.F. Endurance 50

Sunday, 14 January 2007; 21:56

Dean Karnazes would make Forrest Gump and the late Jim Fixx proud. After running 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days (a.k.a. The North Face Endurance 50), he is now running another 3,000 miles across America to get back home. That indeed is endurance.

And, the same can be said for every North Face product I own. My North Face raincoat is now almost 30 years old–after a few lifetime warranty replacements. My North Face luggage is 25 years old and going strong. The same can be said for my North Face sleeping bag. Endurance and The North Face are one.

After you have watched Dean’s video. Then trot on over to The North Face TV. There you will find an abundance of multimedia advertising which also showcases the wonders of nature, the limits of human beings in nature, and some great gear to survive Mother Nature. (The video of the guy skiing just ahead of a huge avalanche is quite amazing. An avalanche right on your butt has to be a major incentive to remain upright and get to the bottom ASAP!)

Home page:  The North Face
Home page:  The North Face Endurance 50
Home page:  The North Face TV

 

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Boa Technology’s Boa Lacing System

Wednesday, 20 December 2006; 12:22

Boa Technology’s Boa Lacing System is something my mom might have preferred. I understand she had one helluva time teaching me how to tie my shoes–and I still do it quite differently than anyone else. However, technology has all but rendered the art of tying shoe laces essentially moot–at least for kids. It seems many young children’s shoes now come with Velcro straps instead of shoe laces. However, Velcro isn’t right for most shoes. And, old-fashioned laces have their disadvantages, especially in some of the more demanding activities and sports.

Enter the Boa Lacing System. (The Distillery even likes the name.) Instead of tying shoe laces (which have not been fully eliminated–just yet), the Boa system depends on dials around which “cables” are wrapped in such a manner that users need only dial the lacing of their shoes either tighter or looser. And in fact, the Boa system has passed one of the most demanding of tests–the Tour de France. (Can you imagine a professional bicycle racer having to stop and tie his shoes as his competitors speed up the mountain?)

However, what about the Boa web site itself. As should often be expected these days, the site opens with a multimedia presentation. However, when it might serve the product’s purpose to continue as a richly informative information source about a new product with sights and sounds, it begins to come untied.

The How It Works portion of the site eschews any sort of multimedia presentation or information that might keep less than fully involved consumers interested in a new and untried product. That is an error in dire need of correction. On the other hand, Boa does not make the mistake typically seen at Flash-driven web sites–no images which the consumer can download and/or share with others. Kudos to Boa for that nice touch–even if not on purpose.

One caveat, however, from personal experience. The Boa system can break, and unlike good ol’fashioned shoe laces, a fix is not simply a drive to the drug store and replacing a lace. My personal experience has shown the dials can break, leaving the shoe’s wearer essentially with a shoe which cannot be properly tightened around the foot. In fact, some retailers even keep extra dials on hand. Given that, and although the web site addresses the issue by saying the product will not break, I’ll continue to tie my shoes in my own unique and effective way. YMMV.

Home page:  Boa Technology

MarthaStewart.com

Tuesday, 12 December 2006; 12:15

Every convicted felon should have it so well. Martha’s felony conviction has obviously not put a single dent in her sales and followers’ shopping. And, she provides a very media-rich web site for her loyal Martha wannabes.

We start with megabytes and megabytes of video from Martha’s video library. Full past shows can be found there. Recipes, of course, can be found there. (I especially liked the one for venison.) In fact, just as in retail stores, virtually everything Martha can be found in her video library.

You will even find video about a GE dream kitchen some lucky Martha lemming will win. And along with much more, but especially given the season, you’ll also find the 12 days of Christmas. All of that is just the beginning. There is enough rich media content at MarthaStewart.com to keep you busy for days.

The Distillery admits MarthaStewart.com is a very easy site to judge. It is excellent. Martha obviously spent her time in prison most productively.

Important note:  Do *not* misspell the site’s name and type in marthasteward.com. That takes you to a bad place where you will likely pick up computer cooties. I know, I’ve been there.

Home page:  MarthaStewart.com

Martha & friends
Martha and fellow inmates out on parole?

Second Chance Armor

Friday, 8 September 2006; 13:19

As a rule, I don’t think people brag about saving others’ lives. However, there are legitimate exceptions. Second Chance Armor, a manufacturer of bullet-proof vests and law enforcement equipment, is most definitely allowed an exception with Sgt. Ed Hinchey describing his ordeal and showing us the very bullet-proof vest that saved his life.

Home page:  Second Chance Armor

Second Chance Armor counter graphic

Second Chance Armor external assault shell graphic

Prada

Wednesday, 12 July 2006; 8:46

If The Devil Wears Prada, she sure as Hades did not get her frocks from the Prada web site. You are hereby judged and banished to the Seventh Level of Purgatory, Prada!

(Jeesh, talk about entirely missing the boat and a once-in-a-lifetime chance at having your web site rank up thousands and thousands of eyeballs. What were they thinking, if at all?)

Prada logo

Motorola & Burton Snowboards

Tuesday, 11 July 2006; 11:57

It’s blazing hot down here in the South. Maybe that’s why The Distillery is looking for something to cool it off — and has found it. Motorola and Burton Snowboards bring you snowboarding and the Open Snowboarding Championships. (Roll your cursor over the cuckoo clock. Go ahead. It won’t hurt.) They also bring you a plethora of snowboarding videos. (Are you watching Tony Hawk?)

It appears that Motorola continues to have a good handle on its customers’ demographics. It was all about pagers back in the day, but now those same young adults are using cell phones. (I still use my Motorola pager. Ol’skool, I am.) They also recognize the often extreme lifestyles of that younger demographic, or at least extreme lifestyles by proxy or vicarious living. Indeed, what sane person honestly and truly wishes to catch big air on a half-pipe? (Okay, I’m not as sane as some people might think.)

Even more, the site captures the nuances of its intended target market. For example, there is use of the word “bling” to describe its limited edition Dolce & Gabbana GOLD RAZR V3i. On that same page, we also learn, “Martina Navratilova is perhaps the world’s most famous snowboarding lesbian.” (That’s certainly news to me — the snowboarding part, that is.)

Elsewhere in the site we find out where the first true car phone was used — on the moon in the Lunar Rover, and it was a Motorola. And, each Motorola-Burton sponsored snowboarder has a blog at the site. Yes, this site was specifically designed for your grandchildren.

snowboarder's view from mountaintop graphic

Reebok – “I Am What I Am”

Friday, 7 July 2006; 2:14

I didn’t want to be fighting every day. I didn’t want to be selling drugs. I didn’t want to do what everybody was doing in the hood. I wanted to be different. And that’s what Skateboarding gave me. ~Stevie Williams

Allen Iverson — Father, Aspiring Fisherman, Basketball Star. Carolina Kluft — Heptathlete, Daughter, Olympic Champion. 50 Cent — Dad, Survivor, Rap Superstar. Miri Ben-Ari — Former Soldier, Hip Hop Head, World-renown Violinist.

Those are a few of the audio-visual portraits found at Reebok’s I Am What I Am web site. In each case, we discover something different about the spokesperson than what we may now believe. And after Michael Jordan never really speaking out, never taking a stand against child labor, nor expressly looking to be a role model (as he sold $150/pair basketball shoes to low-income inner-city kids), this campaign by Reebok is very refreshing.

It is an interesting approach to selling shoes, which typically serve more as fashion statements than honest-to-goodness athletic shoes. It works for me. Yet then again, maybe I’m not exactly a member of this Reebok campaign’s target audience. After all, Nike remains firmly entrenched as #1.

Still, The Distillery applauds Reebok for a very socially responsible approach to selling shoes and providing sometimes unexpected role models. I doubt they would sponsor Charles Barkley, even if there was some truth in his [in]famous statement about not being a role model. But maybe, just maybe, Reebok has decided it’s not always about making as much money as possible.

Are we truly looking at corporate social responsibility? Believe it or not, so it seems. More evidence is found at Reebok’s Human Rights Program. In fact, The Distillery has previously reviewed the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as presented by Reebok. It appears Reebok is indeed the real deal.

When you finish looking through the video portraits (downloadable to iPods and PSPs), be certain to then look at the Behind The Grind video, a casual and light-hearted look into what makes each spokesperson the person they are, and what they believe. The Distillery very much likes and admires this campaign. In fact, this is one advertisement that parents might like to sit down and watch with their kids. Each may walk away a little more enlightened about some unique individuals, life itself, and life’s choices.

Thanks, Reebok. I promise my next pair of sneakers will be Reeboks. I think I owe you one.

Reebok logo Reebok The Pump Match Day Tennis Shoe graphic

Samsung – “Imagine Freedom” & Helix and Nexus

Friday, 16 June 2006; 16:14

Sorry my good friends, but I am still swamped with work. I am reminded of what one of my graduate school professors said when once I practically swooned over the load of academic work expected of us, the students. His words still ring in my ears, “You’ve got to stop wasting those hours between midnight and six AM.” Please consider this another obligatory entry. After this weekend, life should become…well, different. And you thought I was going to say easier, I know. Nah, I should be so lucky.

Back to business…

I know they have to be out there somewhere because I have read they do sell, but where are they? Oh, you’re wondering what I’m talking about, right? iPod competitors, that’s what. I don’t see them on the buses. I don’t see them on the street. I don’t see them in anyone’s hands. But most of all, I don’t see their ear buds in anyone’s ears. Yet and still, Samsung offers the consumer Imagine Freedom and its Z5 digital audio player. (Digital audio player? Somehow it just doesn’t have the ring and likely staying-power, pop culture-wise, of 8-track player. Oh well….)

Something else has also caught my attention. The so-called music at the Imagine Freedom site is the equivalent of cheap clip art. I just don’t get it. Sites which do not promote music-related products often have excellent music, but the sites that actually sell music-related products are all too often devoid of anything catchy or tracks from well-known artists. Why is that? ‘Tis another puzzlement.

In fact, we have even more “more of less” at Samsung’s Helix and Nexus micro-site. The site appears on the screen–and then you are deafened by the silence. But wait! I get it now! The music doesn’t count! It’s all about looks. Who cares if the music is crappy as long as the player looks cool. Right? It seems so. But even with that revelation, where are the contenders to Apple’s iPod and its sleek and Spartan appearance?

Do firms, aside than Nike, not realize that with Michael Jordan it was his shoes?! It was all about looks. That’s why kids were killing other kids for them. I tried a pair of his shoes and could not even dunk the ball while standing directly under the basket, more less from the free throw line. And with this revelation, The Distillery offers this advice to pretenders to the throne–remember it’s the shoes. That is, style trumps substance. But that aside, how about some decent music when you’re trying to sell me a music-related product? You might then get my attention.

Z5 digital audio player graphic Samsung Nexis XM satellite radio receiver image Samsung logo

Queer TV Online

Friday, 9 June 2006; 11:01

I recall attending my first drag queen show eons ago. To say it opened my eyes (very widely!) is an understatement. And from Down Under, today The Distillery brings you QueerTV Online. It amply illustrates one of the things I like about Aussies–a typically “live and let live” attitude. After all, it’s the country/continent that brought us the outrageously (no pun intended) funny movie, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert.

Today, I will save you the trouble of navigating to the site in order to see its “OUTrageous” content. (Might the boss be lurking or IT snooping?) By the way, each of the following links is in MP4 format. However, Quicktime* formatted (.qt) versions are also available at the site.

Turn down the volume a tad, sit back, and watch the show(s). And, enjoy. I most certainly did. (Jeesh, how do I find this stuff? ‘Tis a puzzlement, even to the The Distillery.)

2005 Mardi Gras Party with Nikkie French
2005 Mardi Gras Party with Nikkie French

Mardi Gras Fair Day 2006
Mardi Gras Fair Day 2006

Queer TV theme song graphic
Queer TV Theme Song

Queer TV Bloopers
Queer TV Bloopers

Big Queer Nation
Big Queer Nation

Tina Arena Mardi Gras 2005
Tina Arena Mardi Gras 2005

The Pussy Cat Has Her Say
The Pussy Cat Has Her Say

(* I feel a rant coming on. Although I love Macintoshes, I am beginning to despise Quicktime just as much–and possibly more–than I do Real Player/Media. Stay tuned until I fully pull my thoughts together. Maybe it’s time for Quicktime to be “outed.” It sometimes behaves most queerly. Update: Then again, maybe it’s not Quicktime per se, but too many people who simply cannot write code very well at all.)

Diesel

Monday, 8 May 2006; 11:09

We have visited Diesel previously. On our second visit, we find Diesel has not been simply sitting on its jeans, but instead has been hard at work. This time we find Camouflage Tales. The campaign’s implication is that one remains invisible unless wearing Diesel clothing. Only by spending ridiculous sums of money on designer jeans and clothing is one able to stand out from the crowd. And to make a long story short, boy gets girl.

The primary quibble I have about this site is again navigation. Macromedia Flash is clearly taking over the internet when it comes to multimedia presentations, and as I have previously noted, rightly so. However, it seems some web designers are still wrestling with, or simply do not understand, the need for ease of navigation around a Flash-powered web site. (Some web site design lessons I thought were learned years and years ago.) This Diesel site proceeds in a fairly linear progression, which makes sense considering the storyline, but it also removes too much control over navigation from the viewer (a.k.a. consumer).

Given that, I found the sight a tad boring in the sense of waiting for things to happen. That is only slightly ameliorated by the viewer’s interaction with the site via his/her mouse. Although this is a wonderful effort by Diesel, the entire message may never be seen by a viewer without plenty of time to waste.

So remember good readers, one major attribute that should be a component of online campaigns is allowing viewers greater control over what they see and when. After all, this is not your grandfather’s television set. Instead of merely switching channels if bored (and then not infrequently returning), they switch to another web site–permanently.

One more thing. While you are at the Diesel main page, click on Talent Support and then Raindance Film Festival (sponsored by Diesel). Once there, sit back and enjoy the 2005 Festival’s winning film, Right Place. It is quite excellent.

Diesel successful living logo

Oakley Video Vault

Tuesday, 25 April 2006; 13:19

Today is a very busy day for me. Please forgive the scarcity of postings. However,…

…there is the Oakley Video Vault, Dedicated to Purpose Beyond Reason, to keep you occupied for quite some time. And should you consider declining, thinking there is nothing that might interest you, you will be surprised to find videos ranging from the 2006 NYC Fashion Show (196 MB!) to athlete videos of Mike Metzger, Kristi Leskinen, James Stewart, and a host of others. In addition, each video comes in either Windows Media or Apple Quicktime format, and in some instances as Podcasts.

7-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong oakley sunglasses

FBFX LTD

Monday, 24 April 2006; 11:13

From where did Batman get his Bat-suit in Batman Begins? And who does not remember the leather mask worn by Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs? Who created the impressive Romans’ armour in Gladiator? And given his well-known misdeed, who would Sir Lancelot trust to build a suit of armour not knowing what King Arthur may have had hidden and awaiting him under the Round Table? (And no, in each case I am not talking about in real life, but in the movies!)

In each case, it was FBFX LTD, “the UK’s leading prop and costume effects company.”

Hannibal's mask Scene from Troy