Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shades of Marketing: The Art of Salesmanship

Marketing is a subject that comes up frequently on this blog, and I'm often critical of manufacturers' attempts to get people to purchase their products. However, while I may find certain marketing ploys distasteful or objectionable, the fact is that even I am susceptible to marketing. We all are. As long as there are people offering goods in exchange for compensation, they will seek ways to bring those goods to our attention. And as consumers, we differ not on whether or not we believe in marketing, but rather on what our threshold for marketing is. Sure, I stop well short of getting corporate logos tattooed on myself, but I do see advertisements for products and, based on the way they are presented to me in the advertisement, sometimes even purchase those products. For me, a marketing campaign becomes offensive when I feel as though I am being duped or distracted rather than being informed, and I think the point at which you feel you are being duped determines your marketing threshold.

Of course, it took seeing a sales pitch completely bereft of marketing to make me realize that not only am I susceptible to marketing, but that I actually miss it when it's not around. It turns out the only thing scarier than marketing is the absence of marketing. Here is the video that sparked this revelation for me, which is sort of an infomercial for the Oso Bike:



I think you'll agree with me that the one thing this video could have used (apart from a warning about not operating heavy machinery after watching) is, well, a script. Sure, we're all sick of phrases like "laterally stiff yet vertically compliant" and "telepathic handling," but you've got to admit even those hoary descriptors are more evocative and less jarring than phrases like "teardrop-shaped bars" with regard to the frame tubes, "they also feel very well when you're riding it" with regard to the handlebars," and "it pedals very easily because of the way the tires are" with regard to the tires and the overall ride quality.

Granted, I can understand why Oso Bike proprietor Shane Stock might have been tempted to work without a script. When you've got the sort of natural charisma he has--the kind that simply bursts forth despite your best efforts to contain it, like love handles over the waistline of a tight pair of jeans--you figure you can just be the waterfall and the camera can be the bucket. But the truth is even Marlon Brando and Francis Ford Coppola had a difficult time working that way in "Apocalyse Now." And for all his raw magnetism, I'm sorry to say Shane Stock is no Brando. (Though the camerawork does evoke Coppola at times.)

In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that, while it was a reader that first brought this video to my attention, I did not elect to mention Oso Bikes here until I also received an email from Shane Stock himself. However, I assue you that I have accepted no compensation of any kind in exchange for mentioning Oso Bikes. I have not taken money, I have not been given an Oso, and I have certainly not partaken in any of the debauchery Shane Stock is famous for--and that includes attending any of his famously ribald, psilocybin-and-Red-Bull-fueled fortnightly hot tub parties. (The deck behind Shane's house is the Studio 54 of the cycling world. If only that pressure-treated lumber could talk, it would tell stories about David Duchovny, Grant Petersen, and Fat Cyclist that would send you reeling.)

No, I only mention Oso Bikes because I would like to see Shane Stock take his rightful place at the table along with other industry pioneers such as Gary Fisher, Mike Sinyard, and, well, Grant Petersen. (Though I don't think Grant will be sitting at any tables after last week's hot tub party. He's probably still in detox.) One way to do this would be to delve deeper into Stock's heady days as a student in the 70s, when he came up with the idea for the Oso and which he only alludes to in the film. He needs to take us on his journey of discovery, and perhaps even dramatize the "Eureka" moment when he started stripping parts off his 10-speed after a few bong hits. More importantly, he's got to employ some catchy slogans. "Oso--it's O-so sexy!" comes immediately to mind. He's got a pretty decent idea here--a cheap bike with a coaster brake that looks like a fixed gear--but he's not selling the "sizzle." In fact, the burner's not even on and he's just got a slab of raw meat sitting in the pan.

Shane Stock would do well to look to Tyler Hamilton, who successfully underwent an image makeover from innocent paperboy to slightly older paperboy trying to look tough while still delivering papers:


VeloNews recently published a hard-hitting interview with Tyler, in which I presume he tells all, though I couldn't make the time to read it. (My collection of vintage Colorado Cyclist catalogs is not going to organize itself.) But one thing I did read was this:

"I think I’ve just relaxed a bit, in general. I’m not trying to be a rebel or anything. I’ve always enjoyed having a bit longer hair, not so high and tight. And Michael Ball has allowed me to feel that way, to relax a bit, grow some shag, wear some glasses you want to wear. "

A-ha! The glasses! So that's what this was all about. Tyler just wanted to wear some cool Prada sunglasses. They're sort of his "Rosebud," except unlike Charles Foster Kane he got to put them on before he died. It's heartwarming, really. (Though the part about growing shag concerns me--I never would have pegged Tyler for a marijuana farmer.)



Actually, designer sunglasses could be the answer for Shane Stock as well. That Oso infomercial would have had an entirely different feel if he'd been wearing a pair of giant overpriced celebutard shades. I'm even wearing a pair as I type. I can't really see anything, but I already feel much better about myself. Instant charisma, and totally funda.

102 comments:

erik said...

one

Anonymous said...

Hi

Anonymous said...

THIRD...I HOPE...IF I AM CLEAN THAT IS...

Anonymous said...

OH so Podium!

Surly

Not ...

Anonymous said...

Four?

Anonymous said...

Not Podium...but closer. WooHoo Not working today!

Anonymous said...

Isnt Oso Spanish for fighting chicken?

mander said...

mand1st

kale said...

Huh? Changing a flat and lubrication are parts of maintenance?

change my bongwater...
change my sweaty gray shirt...
get a job...
asking too much bra...
pass the Zachary's...
I'm going freeriding...

Critical Ass said...

OSO is really just Led Zeppelin IV after the "z" has melted into the album cover

CERA Connoh? said...

That pic of Hamilton looks disturbingly like Jackie Earle Haley in "Breaking Away."

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Jim said...

Excerpt from my new biker flick:

Mildred: What are you consuming?

Johnny: Whattaya got?


BTW, if the hot tub party featured David Duchovny, Grant Petersen, and the Fat Cyclist, I'm not sure what got served up, but I'm guessing there was lots of sex, abundant amounts of turtle pie, and roughly a fistfull of steel seatpost crammed up under somebody's butt.

Anonymous said...

...and lots of fofonov...

bloodline said...

i would of posted higher but i just got out of the hot tub

ant1 said...

Regarding Tyler's sunglasses, not every brand of shades can manage to hide the shame in his eyes. After a career like his, it takes a special pair to show your face in public.

Mulder said...

Scully, I'm in trouble. I've got this Rivendell stem..

Brendan said...

That guy had all the charisma of an odorless and silent fart. That was horrible, I need those 5:22 of my life back.. The only thing that could've made that better was a naked Mulder chasing Petersen around on a 650b bike in the background, maybe that or a giant Godzilla foot descending to crush the OSO bike guy.. anything to liven that up a little.

Slappy said...

Oso, I think that's spanish for bear.

Too many bong rips though, hard to remember.

Becareful you don't slip and fall in the hot tub, it can get messy in there.

Polygraf said...

damn snob my lunch hr can't afford 5:22 of nonsense.

a satisfied customer says-Se siente bien padre [That's Spanish for "it feels really nice"] I thought it would mean "it feels good dad" but my spanish teacher in h.s was japanese, now i feel oso stupido.

Double d said...

Please don't call me Mulder.

Anonymous said...

ASSUE!!!!

Toothless Redneck said...

"...... My wife and I, last year we spent most of the year apart.....we had no energy left towards our marriage. But we’re still great friends. She’s my best friend, and hopefully she’ll be my best friend forever. ... "

Just maybe the fact that you dedicated your Olympic gold medal to Tugboat also helped in her decision to dump you and that dickhead chimera twin of yours.

Anonymous said...

those assembly videos are classic.

"your box should look like this"

Anonymous said...

Oso fundo.

Flatman said...

26.

Anonymous said...

It does mean it feels good father.
http://translate.google.com/translate_t#es|en|Se%20siente%20bien%20padre

Commiecanuk said...

That's OSO bike guy is one slick salesman, you can tell someone spent many minutes agonizing over that script. Once again, another manufacturer has come forth with a design to rid the world of those pesky brake levers, the rabid sewer rats of the cycling world.

I don't care for the bike, but I'm scouring the interweb for those penny loafers, they look so cool with cycling socks.

Speaking of cool, Tyler obviously has issues with his age after his ban and those tell-tale wrinkle/blood doping lines around the eyes. The solution is to look no farther than middle-aged Jewish housewives in New Jersey, hence, the big-ass overpriced sunglasses. He's already half way there with the lycra stirrup pants, next it has to be the big hair to make his hips look thinner. Linda Richman has always supported Tyler, and now it's time for a style payback. "It's such an honna, It makes me a little verklempt...excuseme..."

Tyler Hamilton is one handsome man, hard not to admit the obvious man-crush here. He's divorced and back on the market girls!

leroy said...

I, for one, am heartened that Mr. Stock is not embittered by ABBA's blatant co-opting of his nascent corporate logo.

None among us can hear Mr. Stock’s brand without also hearing ABBA chirping:

"So when you're near me, darling can't you hear me
O. S. O.
And the love you gave me, nothing else can save me
O. S. O."

"When you're gone, how can I carry on," indeed.

I say good for you Mr. Stock. You carry on.

And contact those folks at Mission Bicycles to powder coat your white frame, which evokes a ghost bike and is making me a little uncomfortable.

You'll find the Mission Bicycle folks are kindred spirits, having survived Elton John's incendiary call for Mission's destruction on his Tumbleweed Connection album.

leroy said...

Anon 1:39 PM:

Gezhundeit.

carmen miranda said...

ay, papi! que rico! mas duro, mas, mas!

Gnarles Darwin said...

Spit out the back of the Pelaton

dmitri fofonov said...

Heptaminol is natural food derivative for treatment of muscle cramps and provocation of erections. UCI suck balls of goat.

laredoshane said...

"Oso" means bear in Spanish, but I named the bike the Osobike because I did the logo first. I was trying to find letters that would make the shape of a bike. That "Oso" means "bear" was just a coincedence. "Padre" in Spanish means "father" but it is also slang for "cool". So if you say "se seinte bein padre", that's like saying "it feels very cool".
Thank you all for watching my boring video. I am thinking about how to to a better one but haven't came up with any great ideas yet. And thank you Bike Snob for taking the time to look at my site, watch the video, and write all that stuff.
Shane Stock
www.osobike.com
Laredo, TX

anon 2:11 said...

Calling the glasses his Rosebud makes no sense at all. Did you even watch Citizen Kane? I fell asleep 20 minutes in to the movie in middle school and I still no what Rosebud was.

Stop trying to convince us you don't get stuff for mentioning products. You do.

I've never seen someone try so hard to be on the level of his readers but be so far above everyone else.

Obama for president!

Critical Ass said...

Shane,

I would like an OSO as pictured, except in all black including bar tape and wheels. Since you are already using a big-ass rear hub to accomodate the coaster brake, why not add a Shimano Nexus 7 hub with internal cable routing through the seat tube, terminating with some type of hidden shifter I can actuate with my butt cheeks? Also, I would like a custom logo in lime green paint that says "all you haters suck my Bendix". Now that would be a bargain at $400.

ant1 said...

Anon 2:11, stop trying to convince us you've never seen someone try so hard to be on the level of his readers but be so far above everyone else. You have.

wish said...

OSO (Italian)

I dare
I venture
I risk
I attempt

I hope this lousy bike doesn't make me crash.

Oso buco might follow nicely after carbonara though, with enough barolo.

ant1 said...

Ant1st for president!

Strayhorn said...

El Oso?

Someone in the bike work listens to Soul Coughing? Awesome.

Wonder if they are dating a model from Reseda as well.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the the video is that its difficult to elaborate on a bike thats been completely stripped down to its essential elements...

Oso, its a bike...
Oso, its all you need ...
Oso, its ready to ride ...
oso, I don't really need anything else ...
Oso, lets go ...
Oso, how can I get one ...

kale said...

Track frame w/o wheels 300.00

Coaster brake Deep-V's169.00

Bullhorn bars

Crashing into the side of a bus when it right-hooks you...

Priceless.

ice cube said...

My OSO is on it's way!! Sold the Pista for $1,200 and had enough $$ left over to schedule a powder-coat and pick up some deep Vs!!!

Jim said...

Anon 2:11, Rosebud was also supposedly Orson Wells' pet name for a particularly sensitive part of his girlfriend's anatomy. Y'know, as long as it bothers you that I know that and write it here.

FWIW, I've never seen somebody hammer on a high quality middlebrow writer for being too highbrow before. Well, maybe Ezra Pound's heavy editing of T.S. Elliot's The Wasteland counts. But still.

Me and Stevil's Buddy Loudass for President and Veep!!!

Bernie T. said...

leroy @ 1:57 pm

Brilliant !!!!!

>>
You'll find the Mission Bicycle folks are kindred spirits, having survived Elton John's incendiary call for Mission's destruction on his Tumbleweed Connection album.
>>

streepo said...

Is there a rosebud on that deep v?

ice cube said...

So has anyone ridden a shaft-driven bicycle yet? I am kind of intrigued...

Lucky 7 said...

Strayhorn,

The People's Republic of Lemony Fresh!


A

kale said...

Every bike I ride is shaft-driven...?

ant1 said...

Cube - never ridden a shaft-driven bicycle, but ... never mind, that's a joke for Frilly to make.

ice cube said...

I see that shaft-driven bikes are advertised on the blog...I really set myself up to fail with that comment:)

skip-stop scully said...

Mulder, I can say with complete certainty and no reasonable doubt that 2:11 is an asshole. It can be easily proven, given the facts.

cognorant said...

The closest I've gotten to riding a shaft drive bike was trying to purchase the drive train part only from Dynamic Bicycles a few months ago. I wanted to incorporate it into an interactive exhibit I was working on. The guy wanted to say f-you and hang up but he was polite enough to say "...uh....yeah...I don't think so..."

bikesgonewild said...

...oso so - so...

...no-no, not the bike, anon 2:11 comments...

...it's oh, so analogous to sending out an sos...a "message in a bottle"...

Anonymous said...

ALL THIS HATER SUCK MY BALLS!

http://www.theangriestpharmacist.com/2008/10/13/share-the-road-piss-off/

kale said...

Shaft don't power no motherfuckin' bike, you square ass polar-bear! Shaft takes the 1,2,3.

genersal lsmenedd said...

from osobike.com:

"There are no cables because the brake is in the pedals (coaster brake)"


the brake is in the pedals.
the brake is in the pedals.
the brake is in the pedals.
the brake is in the pedals.
the brake is in the pedals.
the brake is in the pedals.
the brake is in the pedals.

ant1 said...

NOPE DALS

leroy said...

Anon 2:11 -- you're a little out of your depth. Just sayin'.

Jim -- the even funnier bit about Gore Vidal's revelation in the New York Review of Books concerning the meaning of Rosebud was Vidal's skewering of a well known NYC attorney who ill-advisedly used his firm's letterhead to write the Review challenging Vidal's taste and bona fides.

http://tinyurl.com/4y28t9

BSNYC -- after the punning, the limerick, and the ABBA and Elton John references, I thought I'd try to make amends by elevating the discussion with a New York Review of Books exchange of correspondence concerning Marion Davies' nether regions.

What? Not high brow enough?

mr.complaint said...

So I took off my stylin' glasses and I feel much better. I can't see that Oso or Essay.

I'm gonna turn off my hearing aid too.

Jim said...

LeRoy - I'm with Judge Woolsey on your question. I don't know what you're talking about, but it's clearly art.

bikesgonewild said...

...charlie chaplin was up to his high brows between marion davies thighs...

...willie r hearst tried to shot him for it, out on the boat...missed & shot some other poor fuck instead...

...just sayin'...

geetus said...

The OSO video: it just reinforces my belief that you can't trust anyone. The tragedy! His wife, his mother, his cameraman all said, "great job." The world is packed with sycophantic yes-men -- even at the great OSO empire -- a corporation erected to design and build a bike of utter simplicity and integrity soiled by lies lies lies, lies that hide behind a mask of "support." I weep.

(Or, the guy is an ass who won't listen -- who knows -- still makes me weep -- I'm going for a ride.)

Albert Einstein said...

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

leroy said...

BGW --

Don't think we don't know what you're up to, you old reprobate.

Honestly, quoting Kim Carnes just when Jim and I are trying to elevate the discussion.

Did you think we would miss:

Her hair is Harlowe gold.
Her lips sweet surprise.
Her hands are never cold.
She's got Marion Davies thighs.

KanyonKris said...

STYLISH is the word of the day.

Brought to you by OSO bikes and Prada eyewear. Watch for the collabo soon!

leroy said...

Jim --

Funny thing about Judge Woolsey's opinion, both Marion Davies and Molly Bloom are quoted as proclaiming:

yes I said yes I will Yes

Weird, huh?

Anon 2:11 -- do try to keep up with the group. It's okay if you don't wish to pull, you can draft at the back. But we really can't slow for you after every traffic light. It's just not fair to the others.

Anonymous said...

STOP THE MUSIC
WILL SOMEONE PLEASE STOP THE MUSIC

red neckerson said...

i dont know what i hate more, muzak music or mutherfuckers who quote james joyce both of you can suck my balls

bikesgonewild said...

...marion davies = 'the high priced spread'...

...anon 2:11 = a unicyclist amongst the two wheeled 'snobpeleton'...

...bgw = "you old reprobate"...

...hey, that's fair in my book...

roomservicetaco said...

Jim:

"Anon 2:11, Rosebud was also supposedly Orson Wells' pet name for a particularly sensitive part of his girlfriend's anatomy."

It was rumored to be the pet name for the most sensitive part of Marion Davies, the girlfriend of William Randolph Hearst (Susan Alexander and Charles Foster Kane in the movie).

AnnaZed said...

anon 2:11 said... and I still no what Rosebud was.
You know? Really, you know that? How do you know that? How did you acquire that knowledge? Do you think that all of the readers of this forum know that? Has anything about the film been given away if we come to know that?
Your erudition astounds us all.
Oh, NO!
Leroy, that Gore Vidal letter made my day. 2:11, dude, THAT is erudition ~ stick to the aol chat rooms or something.

Self-appointed expert on the subject said...

"safety mechanisms" and "high crank ratio"...that's 5:22 of my life I'll never get back.

Anonymous said...

http://www.osobike.com/Assembly.html

"you're box should look like this."

Anonymous said...

Shane "the killer" Stock

leroy said...

Dear Mr. Red Neckerson --

Sorry to have upset you.

Tell you what, get back to y'all's nap and we'll wake you when the muzak references are fin, a'gin.

Okay, I'm done. I swear. Honest.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Leroy, that certain well-known New York attorney you reference wouldn't happen to be Daniella Levi, would it?

kale said...

I hope Shane "The King of Del Mar" offloads those bikes before the Pistadex crashes along with the rest of the market. I'm sure he can find a couple bike shops in Oakland (the new Williamsburg) that will be willing to trade up from the IROs and Windsors they already have.

I love watching the American Dream in action.

leroy said...

wishiwasmerckx --

Nope, not the fair Daniella, the Portia to the personally injured.

But I can report that the attorney is alive and well and none the worse for the skewering. These days, he teaches part time.

Now I really am done.

The leroydex today has spiked more unfortunately than even the stock market.

Hjulcompaniet said...

That shimano rear coaster hub is not good at all. They are akward to service, (which needs to be done with a coaster), and poorly made.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap... if the guy in that Oso video was muching on some Cracer Jacks while making that video he would be Opinated Cyclist. Seriously... watch the video again then check your favorite OC video... I swear to God, it's the same guy!!!

Ted Porter said...

Bike Snob vs. Retro Grouch...

That's what I'd like to see.

Why don't you interview Grant Petersen for BSNYC and he'll interview you for the Rivendell Reader. I'll send you my 5% Riv rebate if you make it happen.

Yaraslav Popovych said...

Since retiring my life has become all rosie, but my eardrums haven't stopped ringing.... chase them down Yara

Anon 2.11 is not out of this depth, he was just floating around the hot tub face down using a Rivendale seat post , inserted carefully in a rosie red place, as a snorkel, keeping David Duchovny smiling

wishiwerepithy said...

The OSO video

as much fun as a Canadian election.

But even lower turnout.

jelliot said...

Yes 85th. If I had only taken my EPO injections. Oh well, I didn't lose any time in the overall. I also just shorted OSO. WooHoo!

rusty said...

Michael Ball is laughing now that Tyler is American champ. I for one will enjoy watching the Rock Racing team at next year's Tour de France. Bring on the Caddies and the dope.

Robin said...

http://www.osobike.com/FAQS.html
oh my god

Some Guy on the Innernets said...

While I must admit that I only made it through the first couple of minutes of the infomercial, I think that's a pretty cool bike. I won't be buying one, because it's an awful lot like my current Ironic Grocery Bike. Iron-ic as in ferrous metal. It's a 30 year old Motobecane I bought from a guy at work last year, and it's even white in the places that still have paint. It had missing spokes, frozen shift cables, smashed brake levers an rock hard pads on the one brake arch that sort of moved, and the guy was still riding it to work from the halfway house every day. He bought a newer bike ('88 Haro) and sold me the old one for cheap. Now it has a coaster brake and baskets. I'm learning about all this low trail bidness, too. Very low trail.

justin said...

it seemed like it was the first time he road, and looked at the bike

...so tired...

Anonymous said...

After I watched the "last debate" and reread the post did I finally get it. Also I'm drunk...

Anonymous said...

Someone is trading on your good name - http://bicyclespokesman.com/bikesnob/

Jason B said...

OMG that OSO footage is painfull!

Anonymous said...

AY Osos SM Fundas...Frumunda

do i win?

frilly said...

P-R-A-D-A Bitches!

If the OSO guy wants to liven things up, he could start with a sepia filter. He's kinda cute in that nerdy, preppy boy way.

Commiecanuk said...

I see what you mean Frilly, OSO-bike guy, sepia filter, MILF hunter..sign me up.

totalchaud said...

"It's real stable. I tried riding it without my hands and it had good balance."

Anonymous said...

Why don't all you haters start your own bike brand before bashing someone with the courage to actually give it a try? He may have penny loafers and pasty legs, but at least he's taking a risk and putting himself out there.

Simply said...

wow! what is going on?

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Kelly's-husband said...

I've only seen 3:05, and I've wanted to shoot myself twice already. 'Safety-things'?!!
The brake-mount slide is Maxed-out already! WTHeck!

Kelly's-husband said...

BANG!!!

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