We continue our celebration of looking back at what was new and hot to SNEWS® and the outdoor industry 25 years ago this month, bringing you this look at June 1984. If you missed our May retrospective, click here.
Printed on gray paper, this issue of SNEWS launched the very first SNEWS retailer survey. In addition, there is a very interesting interview with Jeff Lowe on the launch of his new company, Latok. Below, then, are snippets from the issue for your entertainment and enlightenment.
We hope you are as fascinated by the differences from and, yes, similarities with today’s outdoor industry in these excerpts from SNEWS, 25 years ago in June:
In the some things never change category
A recent conversation with a magazine about to do some equipment testing brought out these remarks: “We write all the companies, spelling out in detail the type of equipment we want for the test. Typically, a few companies respond with exactly what was requested, but most just throw something in the mail and forget about it. That is until the test results are published and then listen to them wail!” SNEWS® feels the same way. It’s not surprising that the companies in our industry that pay attention to detail get the most ink. – (SNEWS ed. note from 2009: This is why a good PR person is worth their weight in gold to both the company AND the media.)
And the SNEWS 1st retailer survey says…
>> Are you using computers? 43 percent said yes, 57 percent said no.
>> What advertising media works best for your shop? Print was the overwhelming favorite with direct mail garnering 43 percent.
>> Do your customers talk about or bring in ads from national magazines? 49 percent said no and 51 percent said yes. Backpacker and Outside magazine were the magazines most often cited as having ads brought in by customers. Patagonia received the company nod for most ads brought in by customers.
>> What companies have the best ads? In order, Patagonia, The North Face, Wilderness Experience, Salomon, Swix, Gore-Tex, and Eureka.
>> Which magazine does the best job editorially? Outside nabbed 22 percent of the vote, followed by Backpacker at 20 percent. Mountain, Climbing, Cross-Country Skier each garnered 6 percent response.
They said it: Kevin Khanamirian of Extrasport
During an interview, he encouraged more paddlesports companies to downplay whitewater in promotions and ads, “I have taken whitewater videos to stores and put them on for customers to watch. The reaction was always the same…people ooed and ahed during the show, but once it was over, they invariably said something like, ‘it looks great but you won’t catch me doing it.’ People are moving into the more subtle aspects of the sport, like just plain paddling for fun and exercise.”
SNEWS trend watch
Remember those colorful Swatch Watches mentioned in the April issue of SNEWS? Well, they are taking off at retail as are all colorful sporty watches priced from $35 to $100. The days of the Casio black watch may be numbered.
They said it: Nick Hahn, president of Biotex
“We’ve got a product that outperforms Gore-Tex in every respect. Gore-Tex is presently the top end product and ours is superior to it and every other micro-porous film. Bion-II can be applied in a thin film which has minimal impact on the drape of the face fabric and it’s so light that the fabric can be cut and sewn into garments that would be difficult with Gore-Tex.”
They said it: Jeff Lowe of Latok
“We approached our clothing line philosophically, knowing that no coating or laminate is completely breathable or waterproof, despite the claims and counterclaims being bandied about these days. We recognized the need for a line of waterproof garments and a less waterproof winter line. We think the retailer has the responsibility to sell the customer the appropriate garment for the customer’s needs, not the garment with the hype. We’re a long way from any miracle waterproof/breathable material and the shops should make their customers aware of that.”
To read the full PDF version of the June 1984 edition of SNEWS, click here.