When I was in Sudbury this past June for Devon Kershaw’s ride with Share the Road, I came across a sticker on the back of a vehicle which took me by surprise. It was an old nordic ski symbol in a funky yellow/blue colour combination that came straight from the 70s or 80s (see picture below). What I thought was interesting is that the person who put this on the back of their car wasn’t trying to promote a brand or product, they were promoting a lifestyle.
I ran over to take a picture and saw the owner standing by the car. He was an older gentleman around 65 who had enjoyed skiing throughout his life. He told me that he came across these stickers in an old ski chalet over 20 years ago and has been holding onto them since. He told me every time he bought a new car, he would grab one of these stickers from his garage and slap it on. What an idea! Promoting something you care about that isn't pushing a commodity. There was no call-to-action in him doing this, he was just trying to say “I cross-country ski”. There are many brands who have used this marketing technique in the past and they always seem to be quite successful. People find their tribe members through music, art, sports, and especially consumer products. Most people will do whatever they can to associate themselves to their tribe even if they know they are spending money to do so—it makes them feel good and connected to like-minded people. Lululemon is a good example of this when they cleaned up with their "Do Yoga" campaign. As people consumed the yoga lifestyle and "did yoga", they consumed millions of dollars in Lululemon product.
I saw this sticker as refreshing because the symbol was speaking to this man's tribe with no strings attached. The people who see this sticker who don’t cross-country ski wouldn't think twice—which is over 95% of the population I’m sure. The ones who do cross-country ski however would immediately feel as though they made contact with a tribe member. It is a subtle tip-of-the-hat.
In honour of this "nod to the nordic tribe", I have recreated this design in a variety of colours. I felt compelled to make this because I knew that this design and look would probably go extinct with his Honda Fit.
If you belong to this tribe and want to proudly show it off with a sticker, send me an email and I would be happy to mail you one.