Friday, October 17, 2008

Is Trek Walking The Talk?

Let me get you bike jax'ers up to speed here. At the beginning of this year the following 30 minute video of Trek's president John Burke at the Taipei bike trade show was released. It is him giving a speech to other industry leaders concerning the future of bicycle as transportation. It was posted and discussed at length on just about every bike related blog and forum you could find and all the while John Burke was being hailed as "the Al Gore of the biking industry" with his talk of creating a bicycle friendly world.

Recently I found this link about how Trek is using Macs on the Apple site.

The Apple video titled, "Trek Bicycle Corporation. Communicating their message." had me all ah twitter recalling all the good vibes and verbiage given by the president of Trek in the video above during the Taipei show. When I searched I found that that release date on the Apple video was the early part of July. A little over a full month before Trek World '09 where Trek shows off its 2009 line up of bikes to it dealers and reps. Imagine my surprise when in this video John Burke takes us on a tour of the Trek faculties and most importantly, the marketing department. And the Apple video is showing nothing but the same old stuff they have been producing for years. Trek is handed a golden opportunity to reach people outside of the biking community and what do they show them? Road bikes and mountain bikes, which are either going really fast or getting some big air. What happened to the bikes as transportation message, John? It looks like Treks true message is, "More of the same."

Warning: Rant to follow. 

First let me point out that I am all for any type of advocacy for bicycles. I spend countless hours working for the cause and I believe we'd be a lot further down the road if every cyclist put in a few hours of work a month for the cause. I also think it's great that Trek is committing large sums of cash to advocacy programs.

But how much further down the road would we be if they (Trek) did some simple marketing for the cause? I have to say that I think Trek's marketing dept. are bunch of lame ass corporate check cashers. They are presented with the opportunity for free marketing via Apple. They could have used images of their new line of urban bikes (which fail completely) and let the video gone viral creating wide and varied interest prior to Trek World. Bike bloggers and forums would have gone wild with speculation over what they are and "is that a belt drive" or "what is this" hoopla. But no, they stick with the tried and true fast road images and big air off road. Yawn.

To John Burke and the marketing folks over at Trek, if you really want 1 world 2 wheels? How about images of real everyday people doing real everyday things on bikes. And showing those images repeatedly. The same repetition that you have been using in you marketing to sell road and mountain bikes will work for selling the american public on bikes as transportation. Just show real people doing everyday things with their bikes.

And as long as I'm ranting at and about Trek... is there no steel tubing to be found in China? How about making some real bikes Trek. That right I said it. Steel is real as the saying goes. A bike made out of any material other than steel is kind of like the American Baseball League. They play a form of baseball. But it's not really baseball is it. I know that last statement is bound to get me some negative reaction from both the carbon set and ABL'ers and I'm sorry to my Tampa brethren. But sometimes the truth just has to be told and just be happy I didn't go into my patented "teams that play in domes rant."


Anonymous said...

I think you overestimate the influence Trek had in the topics Apple chose to show in the video piece. Trek has dedicated more resources in design, engineering and marketing of utilitarian and transportation bikes than ever before. Those flashy mountain and road bike sales pay for a lot of this development and you will see most of your concerns addressed over the next couple of years.
- A check-cashing, underpaid (because I love bikes) bicycle company marketing guy.

Anonymous said...

I would love to know why you think steel is the only material for a bike. Really, in your expertise, tell me why.

Wordnerdy said...

That Allant WSD looks great! Man, I wish that had been available when I bought my bike. I wonder if I can trade in ...

I know you won't agree, so I'm offering an alternative view. So there.