So, the big to-do this weekend was a photo posted by the bjj gear company Manto of two scantily clad women “grappling” on their facebook page.
And by grappling, I really mean “groping”. It was awkward, to say the least. Sadly, this isn’t a fluke either, because they are promoting their “Hero” rashguard in a somewhat similar fashion.
If you would like a more reasonable, succinct version of what I am about to say, please check out The Tangled Triangle for Megan’s take on the whole thing.
While of course there is the saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”, well, yes, yes there is actually when considering the long term and the strength of a brand. By using sex as a marketing tool of course you’ll catch the attention of a large group of people. That much is obvious. Some will become outraged, some will look at the marketing campaign and chuckle, but those reactions translating into increased revenues is slim to none. Manto was better off showcasing BJJ greats like Braulio Estima, arms raised in triumph in his Manto gear, or Ryan Hall with an intense stare, looking like he is ready for a match while wearing a Manto rash guard. If you want to sell an image, or lifestyle, this is the lifestyle people want to focus on: the idea that “those who train hard and win, wear the top of the line stuff, and that stuff is Manto”.
What this shows me is their marketing person A) doesn’t understand the finer points of public relations and brand building and B) isn’t sure how to showcase the finer points of the product, or just plain has no faith in the product itself. This is the 21st century, we are an information age. If you do not inform us, we will seek out the information ourselves and discover the strengths and weaknesses of the product on our own before purchasing. We want reviews and comparisons, not pictures of a “lifestyle” suggesting some intangible, suggestion of cause and effect, like “wearing Manto gear will totally make you (a guy, obviously) look more like a fighter and therefore irresistible to the ladies”.
I have to admit I was a little uncomfortable with the images. Not because I am a prude, at least I don’t think I am, but because sex is never in the equation when training or when it comes to grappling. Oh, it’s like seeing a ballerina performing in the middle of a monster truck rally, is the best way I can describe it. Ballet is the last thing you think of monster trucks are doing whatever the hell they do, but there’s a ballerina, in her pretty satin shoes and snow white tutu, pirouetting through the dirt and mud and auto wreckage. There’s a certain cognitive dissonance that would occur and would probably make you feel a little uncomfortable. One of these things is certainly not like the other. And, I don’t know about you, but I tend to avoid unnecessary things that make me uncomfortable.
Those are my thoughts on the whole subject. What do you think of the mud wrestlers without the mud…er, I mean, grappling ladies?