West Coast Gear Has Infamous RBIs Radio Spot Pulled

While we'll mainly focus on national television commercials here, the radio spot below is an interesting study. 

For the past six months or so, West Coast Gear, a casual apparel startup has aggressively been buying radio ad sports on the the Bay Area's largest radio station, KNBR. 

Some will remember a little under a decade ago the successful apparel company, NorCal, launched under a similar context hoping that geographical pride could move product. It worked as NorCal aligned their brand to a younger, hipper, and outdoor enthusiasts consumer segment.

NorCal never came out and said "We hate SoCal! Buy us to show them!" and the subtle approach has worked for the most part.

You can read about West Coast Gear's story on their about page, but from an advertising and branding standpoint, the commercials for the most part go something like this:

Angry Voice:    The East Coast is the worst because _____. They have the audacity to think _______ (voice gets angrier!!!!) Sports fans here shouldn't stand for it. We like _____ on the West Coast and believe in ______. We're going to end this East Coast bias bullshit and to do that we need to send a message that we're not going to take it anymore. To support the vague revolution that we'll wage soon, please buy a t shirt to show your support.

Over time, the spots got edgier and angrier to the point where the one below had to be pulled after too many people complained. 

While this advertisement is awful and should be pulled for the sheer amount of meandering anger, you have to wonder if it's actually been effective because the pulling of the ad led to a lot of people talking about it.  The video above has over 18,000 page views with 154 likes compared to 2 dislikes.

Even though I don't find the radio spot to be in good taste or compelling (in fact I find it detrimental), perhaps the sheer audacity of it resonates with  people with chips on their shoulders and an affinity for angry loud voices. Having the ad pulled only adds to the brands narrative that West Coast Gear represents an overlooked and undervalued segment of society. 

In the end, I can't see the business model of cheap apparel, expensive advertising, and low margin clothing working out, but until then I'm paralyzed by the awful and possibly brilliant advertising they bring to the table. It worked for GoDaddy but their schtick was boobs and not anger.




About Ben Koo

Owner and editor of @AwfulAnnouncing. Recovering Silicon Valley startup guy. Fan of Buckeyes, A's, dogs, naps, tacos. and the old AOL dialup sounds