In light of recent events I have been giving a lot of thought to the sponsored rider relationship. In my eyes sponsors provide products to upper level riders or insta-famous teens it seems because they feel that these individuals have an impact on the spending decisions of other riders.
By nature people do seem drawn to things that other people like or what is perceived to be popular. Most of us seem to like a brand because it is widely used or the latest and greatest. Maybe it is the most affordable? For this conversation I am focused on brands that are widely used by sponsored riders. How does negative media affect your decision to purchase brands that a specific rider wears (sponsored or otherwise)? When I see brands continuing to support riders that appear to have questionable integrity it makes me question the integrity of the brand itself.
There are definitely specific tack/apparel brands that I love and have brand loyalty towards – CWD, Ogilvy, Parlanti, Samshield, RJ Classic, ROMFH, Lund… The list goes on. I am loyal to these brands because the products are well made, serve their purpose, and meet my requirements for performance/ safety. That said I would be lying if I said that seeing Samshield congratulate their sponsored rider ML for her performance at fair hill this weekend didn’t put a bad taste in my mouth. (The FB post was later removed from their page – I assume due to multiple customers commenting – myself included)
My question is where do you stand on the issue? Do you consider sponsored riders irrelevant? Do you lean towards my thought process? Please do share your thoughts as I am very curious about how other people feel about this.