Ultralight promotions weighed down by heavyweight hyperbole

As we were working to identify ultralight trends we thought might be worth a mention in our upcoming GearTrends® summer outdoor magazine, we found ourselves rather amazed at the heavyweight hyperbole promoting lightweight reality.
Author:
Publish date:

As we were working to identify ultralight trends we thought might be worth a mention in our upcoming GearTrends® summer outdoor magazine, we found ourselves rather amazed at the heavyweight hyperbole promoting lightweight reality. Frankly, after pouring over press releases from two dozen companies, all hyping their latest ultralight, ultrafast offerings, we were left with one, overriding feeling: the only real thing that has significantly changed is the amplitude of hype.Â

So, as the marketing people remain flat on their backs gasping for air, let's interject a little reality into their prose. In all of our collective years running on trails, not once has anybody at SNEWS® said, “I'd be a heck of a lot faster if I had lighter weight shorts.” Nor have we complained that “this synthetic shirt is making me slower because the seams are so bulky.” In fact, we've never even once surmised that a pack with less substance than a breath of air would, in fact, be the deciding factor determining our ability to complete an enjoyable outing.

To that end, we bring you our own special translation of this year's marketing-speak, taken from the pages of actual press releases. A few details have been summarized or modified to protect the truly guilty:

They said: A super light, quick drying athletic top with "insert big company name" logo.
Reality Check: Ah, the all important selling point --branding. Just imagine how much lighter the top could be without a giant logo emblazoned on its front?

They said: A Capri that is styled specifically for women.
Reality Check: Whew. Thank goodness they clarified this, because until reading the release we'd always assumed that with few exceptions Capri pants were designed for women, but wondered just how specifically. Now we know.

They said: These shorts are SUPER minimalist in terms of design and features, but still provide all the basics….
Reality Check: Just what would shorts without the basics be we ask you?

They said: Made to rapidly accelerate evaporative cooling, the new "insert name here" fabric actively wicks perspiration away from the skin and spreads moisture across the fabric resulting in a dry to the touch feel even when it's damp.
Reality Check: Well this would be exciting…two DECADES ago.

They said: The new "insert brand name" jacket utilizes our latest wonder fabric, providing the end user with a lightweight, water and wind resistant shell that is reliable in fowl (sic) weather situations.
Reality Check: Are you implying that your previous models were unreliable and are now, (insert polite applause from investors) finally reliable? We especially like the added feature that they are designed to ward off weather brought on by flocks of birds. Now that is something no other jacket has been able to claim until now. Must have a hell of a DWR!

They said: Ideal for the outdoor enthusiast who refuses to accept compromised lifestyle apparel, this collection vastly expands its mountain attitude.
Reality Check: Perfect for Trustafarians in ski towns who will probably bro deal anyhow. The rest of us "mountain folk" are perfectly happy in our compromised lifestyle thank you.

They said: Wicked cool, lightweight, quick drying, with a UPF of 35 and affordable enough to own one in every style and color….
Reality Check: So, this is different from every other synthetic t-shirt made by a hundred athletic companies in what way?

Related

OR Summer Market: Ultralight Gear Overview

The Light and Not-so-Light The biggest challenge for many companies leading up to this summer's OR show was to invent new superlatives to describe their lightweight products. Just as "extreme" became a hackneyed expression now banished from the vocabulary of anyone with a clue, ...read more

Watercraft weighs down Johnson Outdoors in Q4

Johnson Outdoors posted a significant drop in fourth-quarter profits, due in part to its struggling Watercraft division. In a conference call, Johnson Outdoors COO Jerry Perkins said Johnson Outdoors' total sales for the year were up 7 percent. However, he said operating profits ...read more

Swing_fla1.jpg

Swing Flashlight ultralight umbrella

You can continue to count SNEWS® team members among the umbrella-lovers of the world. Which is why we continue to be huge fans of the Birdiepal Swing Liteflex umbrella which we reviewed back in February 2006. (Click here to read that review.) In open forests, along wide trails, ...read more

Swing_liteflex_umbrella.jpg

Swing Liteflex ultralight umbrella

There are umbrella lovers, and umbrella detractors. You can count the SNEWS® team, after our test of the Birdiepal Swing Liteflex umbrella, among the umbrella lovers -- to a point. In open forests, along open trails, in the desert under a blazing sun and when traveling, ...read more

Biz_MissionSmile.jpg

Ups and downs of the 2010 job market

Anyone keeping up with trends in the U.S. job market must feel as if they’re on a turbulent roller-coaster ride. While the unemployment rate fell from 10 percent to 9.7 percent in January, U.S. jobless claims unexpectedly jumped by 31,000 to 473,000 the second week of February. ...read more

Enough With Ridiculous Promotions Already!

Thinking outside of the box can be a good thing when it comes to business practices and marketing creativity. There appears, however, to be an increasing trend toward wasteful promotional gimmicks that do little for a company's image and that fly in the face of our industry's ...read more