Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sounding Your Voice: Hummer Pulls Out of Outdoor Retailer Demo

Hummer announced late yesterday afternoon that they will not be participating in the Open Air demo of the Outdoor Retailer show as a previously planned portion of their sponsorship.

We recognize that this action by Hummer is a result of the continued pressure from The Piton, a well written editorial by SNEWS, the development of a grassroots tee shirt campaign by Backcountry.com and other influencers in the Outdoor Industry who have voiced their opinions.

Here's how it went down.

The Timeline -

January? March? May? June? Early July?
- Someone brilliant at Outside Magazine recommends to Hummer, a long time advertiser with Outside Magazine, that they sponsor the Outdoor Retailer show to get closer to outdoor people. Hummer takes the bait as does VNU (the company that puts together the Outdoor Retailer show) citing Outside Magazine as a long time voice of the outdoor consumer, its long history, yada, yada, yada.

July 17 - SNEWS reports that Hummer will be at the OR demo stating "How anyone at Outdoor Retailer...thought this was a good idea is beyond us."

July 19 - The Piton takes a stab at Hummer and Outdoor Retailer, clearly drawing a line in the sand. Discussion ensues with 21 comments and a trackback to GetOutdoors.com

July 20 - SNEWS starts a topic on their forum.

July 21
- The Piton begins to ask probing questions and suggests Open Air Demo Shirt #1, the first of a handful of pokes at Hummer.

July 22-26 - Base Camp Communications' Mike Geraci and Backcountry.com's Dustin Robertson begin to toss around some tee shirt ideas of their own as a form of protest. The idea snowballs and three separate shirt designs emerge from a flurry of activity at Backcountry.com HQ.

July 27 - Backcountry.com sources and purchases organic cotton tee shirt blanks from American Apparel as the shirt project gains momentum. That same day The Piton publishes the three tee shirt designs giving "Huge Kudos to Backcountry.com for Taking a Stand (unlike the rest of you wankers)" Hummer fans take note and chime in as 24 comments are posted. Still, silence prevails in Outdoor Retailer land. Outdoor news sources are still hush on the topic.

July 31 - The Piton pumps out it's official stand - still on the same side of the line in the sand as it was before. Perhaps more clear than before? Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) partners with Backcountry.com in support of the tee shirt project and agrees to receive proceeds from the sale of the shirts.

Aug 2 - Backcountry.com begins to sell Hummer inspired tee shirts. Pre-orders are steady as support grows.

Aug 4 - SNEWS takes a stand with a very well written and healthy six page editorial on the issue. This piece brings to light among many fact the point that OIA (the Outdoor Industry Association) and OR (Outdoor Retailer) by contract cannot be critical of VNU

Aug 7 - Backcountry.com learns that the VNU PR firm has been discussing the shirts that Backcountry.com has been making. They weren't ready for the onslaught of outcry and action from the Hummer decision.

Aug 7 - Breaking news - Hummer announces that they will not be participating in the open air demo of the Outdoor Retailer show. What was deemed as unlikely and improbable has taken place.

A greater issue has emerged from. That of OIA's inability by contract to properly voice itself to VNU as it relates to the Outdoor Retailer show.



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