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"Like Nothing Else": Warfare Marketing of the Hummer H3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006)

Hummer Grabs Limelight at Open Air Demo.

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by Ryan Jordan | 2006-08-09 03:00:00-06

Silhouetted against the backdrop of the ragged Wasatch Front, home to some of the finest backcountry skiing and hiking in the United States, as part of the Outdoor Industry's most dramatic gathering of businessmen and product buyers interested in gear related to human powered sports, something different is here.

A Hummer.

If you like, you can test drive one.

And Hummer will donate $20 to Tread Lightly if you do.

Sounds worthy.

Tread Lightly has a name that invokes positive emotion from any hiker and they have a cute cartoon squirrel for a mascot.

And any similarity to the type of environmental stewardship we're interested in pretty much stops there.

Because "Tread" has nothing to do with walking.

That squirrel drives a four wheeler, pours gasoline over its cereal, and digs ruts for recreation.

Tread Lightly counts among their corporate sponsors:

  • American Motorcyclist Association
  • American Suzuki Motor Corporation
  • ARB 4x4 Accessories
  • Arctic Cat, Inc.
  • Aston Martin Jaguar Land Rover
  • BF Goodrich Tires

Let's stop there. The list is long. View them all here.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Hummer. So back to Hummer.

Right, so test drive a Hummer at ORSM'06 and you essentially fund an organization hell bent on promoting motorized recreation on public lands.

That's just friggin' great. Welcome to the new face of the Outdoor Industry Association.

Hummer, of course, defends itself.

Nick Richards (Hummer's communications manager and apparently, chief pimp of environmental education) said in the Salt Lake Tribune this morning that Hummer seeks the active lifestyle market represented by many of us.

I bet they do.

Nothing like seeing one of the grossest symbols of American frivolity waltz up a jeep trail to a remote trailhead and spill out five ultralight backpackers out to commune with nature, eh?

Who invited these guys?

Clearly, OR let them in the door. But rumor has it that the formal invite was extended by Outside magazine. Hummer, after all, is certainly one of their major advertisers. Outside's CPEE Josephine Parr said "Hummer brings another dimension to the show".


A dimension that fools people into thinking that Hummer actually has something to contribute to the long term health of the Outdoor Industry by funding an organization with a recreational use agenda dominated by motorized vehicle use.

Also in the Tribune article, kayak maker Pyranha's Dick Good said "If they [Hummer hammerers] are so worried, why did we all fly to Salt Lake City and make this 45-minute drive from Salt Lake up here?"

See Dick run...

...From the very core of our industry's passion that allows him to even sell his products. Don't believe me? Then read the marketing B.S. that graces the Pyranha home page. Catch phrases like "not just" and "we're the same now as we were 30 years ago" etc.

I don't have a problem with SUV's per se. One can responsibly use the right tool for the job, right? After all, we do need some means of getting to the trailhead, and in some cases, those trailheads are remote and travel over rough roads. Trucks, and SUV's, can get us there.

Ironically, however, the number of large truck and SUV owners that actually use their SUV's to go to places that require a huge, high-clearance vehicle, is abysmally small.

Does a housewife need a Suburban to run her child to and from soccer practice?

Does a visitor on a driving tour of the National Parks really need a supercab truck to do it?

Do we need a vehicle that spends $100 in gasoline to make the 300-mile round trip from the city up a well-maintained road to a Sierra trailhead?

What the Outdoor Industry Association, Outdoor Retailer, Outside magazine, and Hummer have done this year is take eyes off of human powered sports with this absurd and knowingly controversial move, contributed to the national agenda of motorized vehicle use on public lands, and thus have placed a desire for short term sensationalism over the desire for long term industry health.

Choices must be made at a fundamental, personal level if we are to make a difference. The environmental damage and other costs of the recent BP pipeline failure on Alaska's North Slope dictates that our dependence on petroleum energy is unavoidable. As much as we'd like to, BPL Staff can't walk to SLC. Nor can we carpool, as we're too far distributed around the country. But while we're here, we'll do what we can. We'll carpool to and from our hotel (five of us folks in a compact car at 34 MPG), we'll take the shuttle to Willard Bay for the Open Air Demo, and we'll use our hotel towels for a few days. Small measures, for sure, but taken with some sensitivity to personal responsibility. We'll do our best to tread lightly while we're here.

And we won't demo drive the Hummer.


""Like Nothing Else": Warfare Marketing of the Hummer H3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006)," by Ryan Jordan. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2006-08-09 03:00:00-06.


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"Like Nothing Else": Warfare Marketing of the Hummer H3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006)
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Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Sorry for the confusion on 08/10/2006 17:54:25 MDT Print View

I guess I was naive (sadly) to assume that my posting would be recognized as a sarcastic comment on those who just don't care about the well-being of others and the environment. I totally agree with Ryan and those who support an environmentally and socially conscious way of life.

Steven Nelson
(slnsf) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 18:41:27 MDT Print View

Crazy Pete -

What would you say if I said "your ignorance is typical of self-centered, *BEEP*-the-facts conservatives"?

I thought so - so let's put puerile name-calling aside.

There is widespread consensus on global warming; the free market often runs away with itself for profit at great cost to the environment, the public, and others; even if you favor individual transportation there is no sound argument for fuel inefficiency and squandering finite resources; I could go on with many more examples of our current folly.

As many others have already said, just because you have the freedom to do something doesn't mean you should. We all owe it to each other and our grandchildren to conserve, preserve, and protect this planet.

I think that's really quite self-evident, regardless of your politics.

True conservatives conserve; fascists threaten, insult, and selfishly grab whatever they can for themselves. regardless of who or what they trample in the process.

Josh Holland
(jdholland) - F
Re: Re: Re: A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 19:01:25 MDT Print View

Steven Nelson I've got a global warming question for you. Has the earth not been in a warming trend since the last ice age?

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 19:09:26 MDT Print View

yes, but we as human kind have been expiditing it! Please stop the BS Josh...please. We are not here to pick fights with others

Neil Bender
(nebender) - F
Re: Re: Re: A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 19:20:12 MDT Print View

Actually the fascists were socialists who would largely agree with much of the ethics expressed here that are dismayed at the results of voluntary exchange.

We all have different values coming from different experiences and different dispositions. The most democraticly applied common denominator that actually expresses our values meaningfully, tangibly, but never staticly or objectively is the marketplace where votes are only counted when they are backed up with offers of dollars, and non-voting still counts because someone will always find a way to get someone to satisfy a want and spend money.

Politicians don't worry about satisfying the vast majority who are non-voters(at least in the US where the 2-party 2-step doesn't wash anymore with most people), but entrepreneurs do.

Freedom isn't pretty, it's very messy, but the alternatives ultimately come down to elites applying fraud or force or both to get people to do that which they wouldn't choose. A future with increased interventionism will have more lawyers and uniformed goons with guns: that looks to me like a world with more Hummer type vehicles, not less.

Real education (as opposed to publicly funded warehousing of student cattle) is the solution to this problem, but unfortunately the forced education we now have largely leads to inefficient education in basic skills, indoctrination to statism, non-critical thinking, prolonging adolescent behavior, and the very herd-like mentality that makes marketing Hummers in places like OR and Outside magazine successful. Ryan wishes they wouldn't so it, but the rub is that it makes money. I don't think this would have been written if the car on display was a Mazda-5 or a Subaru, or a mountain bike with a brushless electric hub motor.

So while I agree with Ryan's aesthetic critique, all I can say with regard to some of the collectivist yearnings I hear is: be careful what you wish for. As an engineer and a german, I'm quite sure given enough control, I could deliver a perfectly functional solution to these problems. I propose a Highway Safety Administration force or Wilderness Safety Administration force to match the TSA that did a fine job confiscating toothpaste this morning.

I wonder, are Hummers popular because of all the speedbumps popping up like mushrooms in our lives?

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
motorized outdoor recreation on 08/10/2006 19:24:22 MDT Print View

it absolutely is fun

and juvenile

and irresponsible

as an adult I can recognize all three and make the choice to forego the fun

and I'd be happy to point that out to anyone or their kids

Josh Holland
(jdholland) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 19:30:16 MDT Print View

Since when did asking a question become picking a fight?

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
josh re: global warming on 08/10/2006 19:40:09 MDT Print View

warming trend since last ice age not the same way it's been in a warming trend the last 20 years.

glaciers in alaska are a scary example - they've receded more in last approx. 20 years that in previous approx. 2000 years.

people can play with sematics and data manipulation all they want - global warming is a fact we will be dealing with.

it's affecting (significantly) food cycles in the arctic and subarctic - currently some are doing better, but others are rapidly declining from the change in surface ocean temps. ocean food chain close to being severely changed.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 19:44:31 MDT Print View

agreeded with Neil on all points here. Josh I am not trying to pick a fight just trying to keep balance, Hope I did not seem like I was attacking in anyway.If so sorry.

Edited by kennyhel77 on 08/10/2006 19:52:21 MDT.

Josh Holland
(jdholland) - F
Re: josh re: global warming on 08/10/2006 19:46:08 MDT Print View

Thanks. Thats the kind of answer I was looking for.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 19:46:25 MDT Print View

I've decided, three days later, to take my comments out of this idiotic splash of words. It's embarressing to even be part of it. I shouldn't have said anything in the first place. Spill the vitriol away everyone. No one is listening to anyone.

Edited by butuki on 08/13/2006 08:59:23 MDT.

Steven Nelson
(slnsf) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: josh re: global warming on 08/10/2006 20:15:38 MDT Print View

Josh - carbon dioxide levels are also at an historical high, and on an accelerating curve. Ice cores (from the Antarctic and Greenland) have been analyzed to show atmospheric content over the cycles of the most recent ice ages, and they show that this is a pattern fundamentally different than what occured during the natural cycles of ebb and flow.

Edited by slnsf on 08/10/2006 20:20:43 MDT.

Cris Reifsteck
(unsuperguy) - F
my 2 cents (plus 1) on 08/10/2006 21:15:36 MDT Print View

1 cent: I like trees. I like plants. I like small living creatures. Therefore, I don't drive on them. I also like breathing, so I'm really conscious of what pollutants I contribute to the atmosphere.
2 cents: Our economy, ie the 'new economy' is closer to socialism than it is to capitalism. I don't know if this is good or bad, just that refering to the 'free market' as something close to reality is fairly ridiculous. One thing I would like to see is 'free market' unsubsidized fuel prices.
3 cents: If any of you are interested in learning about climate change, I suggest taking a course at your local community college and critically examining the bias of whatever source you get your information from - including your community college. While you're there, you might even want to take other courses, like economics or political science.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 22:22:09 MDT Print View

Miguel A., you take being a cynic to new heights! I kind of like it. While not quite that fatalistic yet, the older I get, the more my feeling that overpopulation is the root of most problems in the world. While Neil B. points out , and rightly so, that many of the US social systems are dysfunctional to say the immediate change in either would not mitigate the fact that whatever the case...enough people in this over-populated world just gravitate towards the wrong or lazy choice.

We already have incresing numbers of lawyers, in large part because "that" particular group of people never wants to be ultimately responsible for their own actions. We already have goons with guns. I read today that some kind of armed entity will now be monitoring the airports full-time. Education...or reasoned discussion time is out the window.

Wants and desires and your ability to pay for them does NOT direct all resources to the best end. (their are too many examples but: (kiddy *BEEP*/paris hilton cd's/pitbulls/rocket-launchers/"Quad-Stacker" from Burger King) There is clearly loads of money waiting to be spent on all these things and more. That is the whole point of this thread I believe. I am the last person to want to give away any freedoms...ANY! But, when someone buys a house across the street from you for example...and they decide to let their 17 y.o. son get a Pitbull...and you have toddlers...and the Pitbull gets out and runs up on pedestrians walking by...and you have to not be outside your house for fear of the really start to wonder if ALL people are responsible enough to know what's best. Obviously not! And you start to reluctantly feel that trading little pieces of your freedom to insure the lowest common denominator is looked out for might be the only way. With all the conveniences we are afforded in this new millenium...I am not so sure it would not have been a better life in the 1920's.

And finally one last stab at just amazes me that a consumer could watch a TV news magazine, where the illustrious psychiatrist who consulted GM on the Hummer's development could articulate that they are basically a goofy way of threatening other those ridiculous commercials that without mincing words states that you are buying a set of balls that you clearly need...and not feel like a total Jackass driving down the street. The company that makes them has told you, YOU ARE to get you to buy them!

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: my 2 cents (plus 1) on 08/10/2006 22:24:02 MDT Print View

Lets see---per capita CO2 production is lower today than it was in the 70s, and the majority of the temperature increase in this century took place in the first half of the century. Also, the temperature fluctuation we are experiancing now is not anywhere close to the rise experianced in the Middle Ages(Gore conveniantly manages to forget this fact).

Geez, that kind blows a couple of big holes in your global warming environment, doesn't it??

And as to your ignorant conservative argument--imagine Newt versus Nancy---imagine who would win. :D

Summit CO
(Summit) - F

Locale: 9300ft
NIMBY on 08/10/2006 23:02:53 MDT Print View

Those who want to control greenhouse emissions in a serious enough capacity to actually affect the climate change trend while NOT DESTROYING the global economy at the same time: You'd better learn to LOVE NUCLEAR power.

You'll need nuclear power if you want to turn off all the coal/natural gas plants. You'll need the lastest generation designs for all the new reactors. You'll need fuel reprocessing/recycling to minimize waste. You'll need breeder reactors to maximize available fuel and minimize fuel costs. And you'll need even mroe of that sweet emission free nuclear power generation to produce hydrogen for fuel cells and to charge batteries that will replace gasoline/deisel engines.

If you just want to control temperatures, the nobel prize winning scientist (for his work on the ozone layer) has a serious solution:

My summary of the plan: Stratospheric baloon deployed short half life sulphur particulates will increase Earth's albedo (reflectivity) thereby countering global warming due to increased thermal retention due to increased greenhouse gasses.

In two words: WEATHER CONTROL!!!!!!

Realistic, global, CONTROLLABLE climate manipulation!

We as a species should master control of the weather. It is the next true technological milestone of a civilization. Seems like this will have some side effects (pretty sunsets (how will spectral changes affect plants?)) Lots to think about... Whatever the reason behind global warming, this could be a control mechanism that could prevent disaster.

It will make Greenpeace pee all over their dredlocked pubes with hatred. IT'S UNNATURAL MAAAN!

PS I stand by my comments on page one and notice no objections.

Edited by Summit on 08/10/2006 23:20:41 MDT.

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: NIMBY on 08/10/2006 23:08:45 MDT Print View

*deep voice*

The nation who can control a storm will control the world

*end deep voice*

No one objects to Summit CO because
A)liberals don't understand satire
B)it was a solid argument

Charles Strusz
(infochuck) - F
Per capita? Crazy Pete's crazy! on 08/11/2006 06:59:43 MDT Print View

Pete: simply spouting uncited statistics will not do to prove your point, excepcially when the statistics you cite are useless. Saying per capita capita C02 production has decreased since the 1970s (a broad range) is meaningless in a world where the number of capitas has dramatically INCREASED. That's right, there are MORE HEADS now (roughly two BILLION more. depending on which starting year you use. Source:, so even producing less CO2 per head can net us greater total production.

The cluetrain: ride it!

Charles Strusz
(infochuck) - F
Summit, CO: on 08/11/2006 07:04:15 MDT Print View

Perhaps nobody's responded to you beacause you are an obvious troll who is inclined to use phiscial violence to solve all of his problems. To wit:

"PETA activists telling children that their "mommy and daddy are terrible murderers" and promptly getting their butts handed to them."

I'm sorry, but PETA protestors (not a fan of those folks myself but I'll defend to the death what they have to say) yelling at you and your children is their right (provided they aren't threatening). Exposing you as a hypocrite/planet-killer/whatnot is my right of free expression. Sorry if you don'tlike people talking to your children. Perhaps you should not take them into public, but if you "hand their butts to them", it's YOU who can expect to be slammed with assault charges.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Do something about it on 08/11/2006 08:21:21 MDT Print View

There is nothing wrong with debating global warming, but at some point you need to do your part in using less energy. Start taking steps to lowering that KWH usage each month. Surprise me and get it down to 100-200 KWH/month or even below 100. It can be done, easier for single persons than for those with families. Use less car travel and natural gas too.