I still haven’t seen the Art of Flight. I’m waiting for the big screen. And, I’ll be honest, there’s some student-like, throwback part of me that wants to see it long after the hype has died down. At the moment (and I’m aware this probably says something slightly sad about me), I’ve been more interested in the frankly awesome scale of the marketing that has gone into the project.
As we know, this is the most expensive snowboarding film ever made and, as Melissa Larssen points out in this review of the film for ESPN.com, that has polarised opinion among the core community. For every rabid grommet frothing at the prospect of all that cash being spunked on screen, there’s an old-timer complaining it’s being overhyped and overproduced in the manner of Sky Sports’s weekly ‘Super Incredible Football Sunday. And it’s live!!!!!’ extravaganzas.
Having not seen it, I’m not really in a position to comment. But whatever your thoughts on the film itself, which has generally been very well received (as these fairly typical reviews in Whitelines and Snowboarder demonstrate), it’s hard to argue that the on-screen expense and creativity on display has been more than matched by the creativity involved in the marketing strategy.
As well as the usual blanket coverage in the core snow media, which has been almost universally positive, and the carefully plotted and released teasers in the build up to the film (the ‘Metal’ trailer was a nice touch) there has been some pretty impressive cross platform (ahem) ‘synergy’ going on as marketing types would say.
There’s the “>Art of Flight limited edition book. The Art of Flight limited edition Travis Rice pro model. The online computer game. The Art of Flight Tour Posters.
Anything else? How about the exclusive Justin Timberlake interview with Travis Rice on Timbo’s own website? Hell, JT even turned up at the New York premiere (see above), thus garnering even more publicity. And that Asymbol Gallery that is promoting both the book and the screen prints? That would be owned by….none other than Travis Rice.
And it’s interesting to draw a parallel between snowboarding’s other standalone superstar right now, Shaun White, and the two differing approaches. Here you have the two most high profile and possibly talented guys in the snowboarding world. But their standing with their core community could not be any more different. On the one hand, Travis Rice manages to make the most expensive snowboarding film ever, with possibly the most sophisticated marketing angle ever (again – Justin Timberlake?), and comes out of it looking more core than ever. Whereas Shaun White makes a comedy chewing gum commercial and gets absolutely caned for it.
Turns out Travis is as forward-thinking off the screen as he is on a board.