7 Adverts Featuring Skaters, Surfers, Snowboarders and BMXers That Will Make You Cringe
Some of these are so bad...
Like Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, or Katie Price and her plastic surgeon, the relationship between action sports and corporate sponsorship is long and complicated.
Long because corporate sponsors have been there since day dot. The first guy to bring surfing to the US (arguably kicking off the whole 'action sports' phenomenon) was brought in California to help promote a corporate sponsor: The Los Angeles-Redondo-Huntington Railroad company.
"Whenever corporate sponsors get involved there's the potential for it to go horribly, horribly wrong."
And complicated because... well, as much as riders welcome the investment and exposure corporate sponsorship can bring, whenever they get involved there's the potential for it to go horribly, horribly wrong.
You know what we mean right? We at Mpora aren't ones to point fingers and scream "sell-out" at anyone who takes a cheque from a big company. If we did, it'd rule out writing about all but a handful of riders. After all, action sports is big business these days.
But surely there are better ways for them to earn their keep - and sponsors to get their money's worth - than these cringe-worthy commercials?[part title="Nyjah Huston Makes a Bold Statement"]
Oh Nyjah, Nyjah, Nyjah. For a brief while after he put out that (frankly incredible) Fade to Black part we thought the one-time child prodigy might be able to turn his reputation as "the world's driest human" around. Or at least give it a good try.
"Then he went and ruined it all by doing this."
But then he went and ruined it all by doing this. An ad this cheesy would be pretty unforgivable anywhere, but in the notoriously sell-out-phobic world of skating, it's tantamount to committing credibility suicide.
Still, he probably doesn't care. He's no doubt laughing all the way to the bank.
[part title="Jamie Anderson Manages to Look More Fake Than Imaginary Characters "]
For snowboarders, the temptation to sign dodgy endorsement deals must be multiplied in an Olympic year.
Knowing that they'll be appearing on prime-time TV across the world corporate sponsors crowd around slopestyle and halfpipe riders like randy stallions at a stud farm.
"She looks more lifeless and wooden than the two stuffed characters next to her!"
But just because there's more pressure on them, doesn't mean people like Jamie Anderson have to sign themselves up to make ads as awful as this one.
In fairness, its shitness is not all her fault. The whole concept of the ad is spectacularly flawed. And it must be hard trying to make a shameless cash-in of a computer game look fun.
But you'd have thought she'd at least try to act a bit - she looks more lifeless and wooden than the two stuffed characters next to her!
[part title="Shaun White Takes It In His Stride"]
You knew a Shaun White ad would feature somewhere in this list didn't you? After all, the man has probably made more out of endorsements than any other action sports star alive, so he's bound to have dropped the ball a few times right?
Well yes, but actually far less often that you might have thought. We watched several of Shaun's ads while researching this article and were actually pleasantly surprised.
The HP ad below might talk about his MySpace page (remember those?) but it was released in 2006, when Lily Allen was the hot new thing for having one.
And anyway none other than Jay-Z made a near-identical advert at the same time.
But although Shaun's avoided the worst pitfalls of mainstream endorsements there, the ad above deserves its inclusion just for being witless.
I mean c'mon, surely there's a more innovative way to use your celebrity star than just as a driver at the end?
Stride and Shaun did go on to make this quite entertaining one later though, so maybe we'll let him off? Then again, maybe not.
[part title="Travis Rice is in a World of Red Bull"]
You'd have thought if Shaun White (regularly slated for being a sell-out) could successfully manage not to look too naff while promoting his sponsors then Travis Rice (who's generally well-respected by snowboarders) would be laughing right?
"He pushes up his goggles and delivers a line that would make even Wayne Campbell wince."
Unfortunately not. This ad, produced while Travis was filming the Red Bull-sponsored extravaganza The Art of Flight, is rad right up until the last minute, when he pushes up his goggles and delivers a line that would make even Wayne Campbell wince.
C'mon Red Bull, did he really need to say that? Isn't covering the entire helicopter with your logo and slapping it on his board enough?
[part title="Skype Pays Paul Shier to Call his Mate"]
This one, featuring British skater Paul Shier, was flagged up for us by our mates at Sidewalk.
The ad itself isn't actually that cringeworthy, and you know what, I bet he actually genuinely does use Skype (in a way that Shaun White probably doesn't chew Stride gum or Jamie Anderson play Mario at the Olympics).
"Skype have paid him to do a voiceover on some footage of his mate on the phone, and call his dog with his back turned."
No, what's funny about this is how little acting there is, and how awkward Paul sounds while he's doing it.
Notice you only see his face when he's talking once - for about a second. So effectively Skype have paid him to do a voiceover on some footage of his mate on the phone, and call his dog with his back turned.
Shit, even I could do that! I wonder how much he got paid...?
[part title="Alana Blanchard Does 'Whatever It Takes'"]
You know this advert's going to be terrible as soon as you see the "let's reference a surf term, that'll make us cool" title: Alana Blanchard Hangs Ten with the Sony Xperia Z. Oh dear.
We have a feeling they're trying to take the piss with the whole action film thing here. Trying, but failing miserably.
"They resort to Alana getting her kit off almost right at the start..."
They've resorted to Alana getting her kit off right at the start (not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but it's not exactly original is it?) but it's the acting - or lack of it - that really kills this for us.
"Whatever my country needs." Really? Honestly, they'd do better paying a plank of wood to deliver that line.
[part title="Ron Wilkerson, RL Osborn and Eddie Fiola Gulp Down Mountain Dew"]
This Mountain Dew BMX ad is probably the cheesiest of the lot. It's awful isn't it?
But, you can't really hold it against them because
A) it was the 1980s, things like this were considered cool:
And B) these guys are absolute legends of BMX. Not only were they all rad at old school freestyling, they continue to be rad to this day, working in the industry and doing a lot of good.
As for Mountain Dew's record in the years since well, they've certainly updated their ads - getting Tyler the Creator on board and scandalising middle America in the process. So high five to them too!