One thing that there is no shortage of here in Kona at the Ironman World Champs is shameless marketing. Triathletes eat that shit up, so why not try every possible marketing scheme to get people to like your product?
Here are my top three favorite marketing schemes so far:
1. Underwater billboards. Yup. On the Ironman Swim Course, which pretty much every tri geek and their “ironmate” (sorry, I almost puked in my mouth a little just typing that) swims each morning (except for the Pros–who swim at the local pool), some serious marketing geniuses put together the thought of underwater signage to direct you towards the expresso barge. There are also signs to tell you about a newest greatest energy product that you can probably get for free on the beach, and other signs. GENIUS! I mean, this might be better than highway billboards. You are already looking down, why not have something other than the beautiful nature under you to peak your interest in swimming in these beautiful waters?
2. Chocolate milk. With the help of some elite triathletes, a milk company has decided to reinvent the wheel but rebranding chocolate milk as THE BEST way to recover EVER. They have taken it so far that they have a tent set up with free chocolate milk giveaways for your post swim recovery and information on the benefits of their chocolate milk. I was so blown away by the new round wheel they were selling I actually had to commend them for their marketing genius–as I took my free chocolate milk, of course.
3. Priceless giveaways. It makes you wonder what it costs to make some of these products that just get thrown at anyone sporting an Mdot wristband or at those who look like maybe they are racing (for instance, me). There are several aggressive attempts to gain market share by an INSANE amount of free-shit handouts. I mean, I have already racked up the following: a rather nice running shirt (would be really nice but it is red and a size large), a water bottle, a swim cap, new Louis Garneau branded gels, and, of course, enough chocolate milk for the next two years. Ironman Danish has racked up the same AND THEN SOME including TYR “Special Ops” goggles and the other free stuff that came in the race packet (granted, this stuff is not really free, in fact, each race really paid $650 dollars for the “free” stuff in their registration bags). In fact, had Ironman Danish read the “official program” earlier, he would have seen the full page ad on the back of it in which Rudy Project offered FREE Wingspan helmets to anyone who afreed to wear their neon aero helmets in all races for a year (including the IMWC. Of course, he still wouldnt have gone to get the helmet as Ironman Danish is practically allergic to aero helmets, and, if you may recall last year, the penalty tents were overwhelmingly populated by triathetes in the neon dome pieces.
Now, I do love getting free shit as much as the next person, but even I have to say it is a little out of hand. You know what should have been free–a lei for me/Fergie. My race bike, Fergie, made by a Rose Bandit Team Sponsor Boom Bikes, needed to get her taste of Hawaii and get laid today, but her lei cost $7!!! I mean, could it be that the wingspan cost less to make than the lei? Urgh….
Sorry for the venting, my real post about the days events are coming soon…..