Through the years, Vans has proven adept at creating a sense of community around its brand, tapping into skateboarding and music culture with style and authenticity through notable campaigns.
Now, the footwear maker plugs into "bike life" with a cheeky "Don't Try This at Home" approach that deflates the hype around indoor cycling, bidding enthusiasts to pursue their pedal-passion outdoors.
For Vans' latest collaboration with SE Bikes, the anthem film below boasts footage of BMX stars doing their thing out-of-doors. Razor Soft director Filipe Zapelini juxtaposes such visuals with cheeky narration, zinging virtual-spin-class clichés:
The approach inverts and subverts the spinning ethos, challenging the notion of an expert instructor—or anyone, really—telling riders how to go about their business.
"Vans is a brand that is rooted in creativity and self-expression," says Bruno Luglio, creative director for the company's Americas region. "When we got briefed to work on this partnership [with SE], we studied the world of 'bike life' extensively. We learned how expressive and free these riders are, how they push the limits of what a bike can do. It was all pretty mesmerizing to see."
"Riding inside your apartment lacks crucial aspects of being on a bike outside—that's where you can express yourself freely, where you'll meet new people, where you'll find something unexpected," Luglio says. "Plus, outside, no one is telling you how fast you should go. It's the pure definition of self-expression."
Riders Rondell Gray, Darrnell Meyers, Ian Martinez, Angelica Fregona, Jadin Rolling, Jake Driscoll and Jonathan Edwards appear in the two-minute clip, shot this spring on the streets of NYC.
Naturally, Vans encourages folks to ride safely first and foremost, and Luglio also stresses that "we're not poking fun" at the Pelotons of the world. "Both types of riding [indoor and outdoor] have their benefits," he says. "But for Vans, riding outside is where the magic really happens—especially now with restrictions being lifted and summer kicking in."
The SE team-up features sneakers and apparel tied to Vans' youthful, irreverent "Off the Wall" positioning.
"The partnership is based on the common belief of elevating voices from cultures that are not represented in the mainstream," Luglio says. "For both brands, identifying and giving visibility to people who are doing things their own way, with their own creative twist, is a must."
VANS x SE BIKES
Production Company: Razor Soft
Executive Producer: Matthew Greeley & Manon Carrié
Director: Filipe Zapelini
Cinematographer: Mika Altskan
Editor: Mah Ferraz
Voice Artist: Sam Stillman
VP Creative: Jamie Reilly
Global ECD: Rob Teague
Creative Director, Americas: Bruno Luglio
Sr. Creative: Trinity Rose
VP Marketing, Americas: Carly Gomez
Product Marketing Director: Mark Goldman
Sr. Marketing Manager: Brooke Burt
Marketing Manager: Bob LaSalle
Production Director: Nate Rogers
Producer: Alex Johnson
Project Manager: Lindsay Larson