Burton Ads Keep Boarders in Dark

Burton Snowboards knows the high-flying snowboarders who use its products are what makes it hip. So the boarders—not the clothing—are the stars in Jager Di Paola Kemp Design’s upcoming print campaign for Burton’s new Analog line of coats, shirts and accessories.

The effort aims to “create mystery” and “stir up paranoia” surrounding the brand by using nearly all black magazine ads, each of which features a well-known snowboarder, said Ben Velez, creative marketing manager at Burton Snowboards in Burlington, Vt.

Ads show the yellow Analog logo on one side of a page with dimly lit photos of boarders taking part in mysterious activities on the other. One features Trevor Andrew sitting in front of various TVs, a scene lit by a single lightbulb. The boarders are wearing Analog clothing, but that is not made obvious.

Celebrity boarders are the “essence” of Burton, said Malcolm Buick, design director at Burlington independent JDK. “[We used] reverse psychology: Show little so people will want to dig deeper and find out more,” he said.

“It’s the alternative, edgy, fun lifestyle … that people want to be part of,” said Jillian Hertzman, trend researcher at Youth Intelligence in New York.

Analog launched in October with more tongue-in-cheek ads that showed snowboarders performing unusual jobs, such as picking up trash. The full campaign breaks in May skateboarding magazines. A Web site, catalog and stickers are also in the mix for No. 1 Burton, which had 2003 sales of $140 million—flat from the previous year, according to Hoover’s Online.

Spending was not disclosed. Burton spent less than $1 million on ads from Jan.-Nov. 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.