Selling Sex or Progressing A Brand?

Unlike literally every video to this point done in anticipation of a contest, this one fails to showcase even a single wave. Instead, the subsidiary of one of surfing’s largest names has decided to go with a more après surf approach.

While the concept of sex selling is nothing new to the world of women’s surf or if we are being honest, women’s sport in general, this appears to have taken things to a completely new level; depending on how you look at it. On first glance the prolonged, slightly riské shots of a girl on a bed or in the shower may seem purely objective. If you look again though, you might feel a slight semblance to Blue Crush, which in the end was more about empowerment than sex appeal. The point I am trying to make here is that this advert may have been aimed more at the lifestyle than the sport itself. Is that really so wrong?

I mean, anyone watching the spot will likely understand what the Roxy Pro is really all about, so why not have some fun with it and use it to sell some beach-side glamour? Yesterday I read a piece from Surfing Life and Red Bull that spoke to a point on how the industry was changing, seeing sales and attention plummet as trends and fashions continue to evolve. So why then, would it not make sense to shift from the traditional mentality, if only for a second?

If the age of selling to mass-market stores and marketing solely with “cool factor” are gone, then it seems like a good move to explore other ways to sell the brand’s message. What I mean is that Roxy seems to be making a transition from strictly a surf company, to a lifestyle-based brand, which can clearly be worn away from the beach. Roxy is doing something which many other brands and retailers have done before them, and that is recognizing a shift in demographic and simply playing to the crowd.

Girls aren’t wearing rash guards and boardshorts as everyday outfits anymore. We are in an age where “action sports brands” especially in the women’s segment are increasingly being used alongside high fashion labels to create a look. A perfect example of this is Roxy’s recent collaboration with DVF (Diane Von Furstenberg) for a line of swimwear, we are talking about a lady who straight up revolutionized the clothing industry with a dress design. At the end of the day, the surfer girl of 2013 is one who can clean up and turn heads at the club after she demolishes her competition in the lineup. The fact that Roxy has thrown a little sexy, more fashionable appeal into their marketing mix seems like a logical step to me.

I for one see this as progressive move by the brand, which only serves to strengthen the ties that women’s surfing has to fashion: power, beauty, poise and grace to name a few. I don’t feel like everything in this arena, even if it is marketing an event needs to be obviously tied to it. If you want to see surfing at the Roxy Pro Biarritz, watch the contest, if you want to get excited about the style and direction of the brand putting it on, watch their commercial…I mean teaser.