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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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Robert Brookshire
third-world on 08/24/2006 18:25:20 MDT Print View

40 years of data. Bars represent percentage of world income earned by each group. Full presentation available here. I'm not trying to argue and intend all of this in a kind spirit, but anecdotal evidence doesn't really mean much on a global level.

Edited by brookshire on 08/24/2006 18:32:35 MDT.

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: third-world on 08/24/2006 21:47:54 MDT Print View

Of course, the top 1% also pays 40% of our taxes as well. I know, tax the *BEEP* rich!!! Why do they have so much money?? Immmmm just as talented as they are *flips burger* There is no middle class, and the economy is crumbling and the hole in the ozone is shrinking---I mean growing according to the bozos in the Sierra Club. America is great, the middle class is strong, so stop being an ingrate and start living the American Way.

Valentin Zill
(Valentin.Zill) - F

Locale: Europe
Re: Hummer on 01/17/2007 07:51:56 MST Print View

Ryan - your article is great.

Crazy Pete - if some people destroy our nature just because they want to have some fun, I can't stand idly by. Remember that nature is for all of us, it is a gift. If someone doesn't want it, OK, but that doesn't give him the right to keep others from enjoying it! And a government that forbids people doing foolish things doesn't have to have anything to do with socialism, seen!?!
Ultralight Backpacking is also about no impact, don't forget.