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Keepsake Skateboards Produce Brand Impressions

As a vehicle for branding and promotion, the skateboard is anything but a slacker.

Keepsake Skateboards Produce Brand Impressions

Cincinnati Reds
Right Brain Promotional Marketing

Bravo Sports

Bravo Sports

Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
Alien Workshop

Tony Hawk Huckjam
Bravo Sports

Alien Workshop
Alien Workshop

Toy Story
Bravo Sports

MWM Graphics


The best MLB giveaway this season? The skateboard decks that the Cincinnati Reds handed out in May to 10,000 fans. "At first, I thought it was too cool for Cincinnati," says Reds promotions manager Lori Watt. "But why not be cutting edge? Bottom line, we want more fans in our seats." The giveaway cost just a few dollars per deck, but the estimated retail value of $30 made the boards keepsakes and drew Coca-Cola as a sponsor.

From the 1964 collaboration between Hobie and Vita-Pakt Juice to today's Disney and Andy Warhol decks, boards and branding have long gone together like the words "Tony" and "Hawk." "Companies want to get brand impressions out there," says Justin Grosch, president of Right Brain Promotional Marketing, "and boards are used for years."

The sport can also gain from a brand's allure. Leonardo Pais, the CEO of wholesaler Bravo Sports, says his 4-year-old daughter now rides, thanks to Barbie. "In my neighborhood, I'm the hero for little kids," he says. "I kind of use them as a focus group." Sick trick.

A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.