BJJ Collabs, why do they work?
***As a disclaimer, this article is my opinion on what makes the most sense when it comes to collaborations in Jiu Jitsu and how to grow the art we all love to train in by using smarter collaborations.***
Chances are if you’re already not somehow familiar with Jiu Jitsu you would never know it really exists. You may see shirts depicting slogans like “Just Roll” or “cross chokers union” and never think twice about it. If you did think about it, you would probably never expect it was Jiu Jitsu unless it clearly stated the words “JIU JITSU”.
Then again, to someone who doesn’t know what Jiu Jitsu is, those words wouldn’t matter anyway.
When it comes to advertising, most BJJ Companies are staying inside the box and in their comfortable little niche. Never seeking outside attention to gain exposure except for the few people who already are in the know. How does this help gain visibility to the sport we all love and put so much effort into?
The fact is it doesn’t.
This isn’t a pro one company, bash all the others post. This is an article for everyone on how thinking outside of the box can give us so much exposure if we just push a little bit outside of our respective bubbles. It’s about an effort to collaborate with companies who can push the sport further in terms of visibility, sponsorship, and ultimately…growth.
One company who has gotten a lot of negative attention because of their collaborations is Shoyoroll.
Shoyoroll used to only get criticized for their limited releases and long wait times but now the focus is on who they’re choosing to collaborate with.
Illest Brand is an automotive culture company who is heavy into the Japanese drifting/import car culture scene and mainly specializes in clothing.
Terry Richardson is a photographer who has photographed some of the elite in the fashion/music world with his most familiar job being a music video for the super controversial Miley Cyrus.
Undefeated is another “hype beast” type of company who specialize in street wear and fashion.
EA Sports, RVCA, Nous Defions/Dual Forces. The list goes on and there’s even more we can’t mention yet.
This leaves the big question of why would Shoyoroll decide to collaborate with these companies who have absolutely nothing to do with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?
Lets take a look at why, to me that is, these collaborations make sense.
Collaborations with companies not BJJ related raises eyebrows. If you’re marketing and collaborating with companies within your own niche, how does that get more people to start training or even buying Jiu Jitsu related merchandise?
Humor me for a minute. If a Gi company decides to collaborate with say, BJJ Tees, Fabrique Pour Grapplers (Fabrique Pour Grapplers is trying to break into the street wear business, so kudos to them for cross platforming. ) or Comme Des Grappler, who are strictly clothing companies within the Jiu Jitsu world, how does this get more people onto the mats or get more sales to people who wouldn’t normally buy it?
You’re selling to people who are already training Jiu Jitsu and you’re not doing anything for the sport, just your bank account. (No offense)
Some will argue that the sole purpose of collaboration is to bring something unique to the table. I personally don’t see it this way, but some do.
Lets take a look at any of the SYR x whoever collaboration.
Illest Brand has access to a ridiculous amount of people world wide. They have sponsored drivers who are on national television, a reach that is far beyond what Jiu Jitsu has and a marketing value that exceeds Jiu Jitsu as well. Go take a look at their social media accounts and see the numbers.
What does that mean?
– More people questioning “Who is this Shoyoroll Brand and why is Illest Brand collaborating with them?”
This is turns gets people searching for Shoyoroll Brand.
What is SYR? A Jiu Jitsu kimono company.
What is Jiu Jitsu? Well lets google it Johnny Boy!!!!
See how that works?
Now lets take a gander at the Terry Richardson collab.
For the life of me I didn’t understand why, of all people, they chose Terry f’n Richardson. A photographer with a slew of scandalous allegations against him. It wasn’t until I googled and wikipedia’d him did I realize that this dude has photographed the who’s who of the world.
After reading all of the scandals it hit me.
The phrase “any press is good press” slammed into my cranium over and over again.
Terry is one of the most controversial figures right now due to sexual assault allegations, risqué pictures, and ultimately….Miley F’N Cyrus. Once a prominent photographer (still is honestly) he’s in the news more so now for the numerous allegations against him from former models. Articles and news reports are showing up in a lot of places about the freaking guy.
Now, go back to what I just said about Illest Brand…
Did this collaboration raise a lot of questions? Of course it did.
Did it paint BJJ in a negative light because of the collaboration with Terry? Depends on who you’re talking to honestly. Not everyone hates Terry Richardson. The guy still has an extremely loyal following.
But the collaboration did exactly what it was suppose to. Gain attention.
Now that you see where I’m going with this, take a look at CTRL Industries and having Graffiti artist EWOK ONE design some products.
Same concept, different market.
Graffiti has been around for how long and how much attention does it get?
Collaborations are all about marketing and raising not only your brand value and how often/much you’re seen, but Jiu Jitsu’s value and visibility as well.
I hope you’re looking at bjj collabs in a different view now.