Surfploitation – surfing sells, or does it?

Guiness Surfing Advert

Surfploitation – using surfing images to sell goods or services unrelated to surfing – seems pretty rife.

At the moment, airing on our screens is the Chanel male perfume surfing advert and a Thomas Cook travel advert.

Perhaps the most famous example is the multi-award winning advert for Guinness.

I’ve never understood the connection between a stodgy stout and surfing and my first surfploitation post outlined my misgivings about the Chanel ad. Much more palatable is the Truro-based Skinners Brewery Betty Stogs ale and Skindog lager. Thank Kahuna, we were saved David Beckham surfing in an ad for Pepsi.

French car companies seem to have been competing with each other a few years ago – there was a Peugeot 106 Quiksilver and a Renault Clio Rip Curl – aimed at young drivers. Both models have apparently now been discontinued.

Even mobile phone, comparison websites and insurance providers have now got in on the act, with a comedy Vodafone and moneysupermarket adverts and a current BUPA advert featuring a pretty inspiring mature lady surfer from Newquay.

The thing is, does surfploitation actually work?
Does it sell more ‘stuff’ than using another sport?
Does it sell more stuff to surfers than non-surfers?
The fact that its used over and over again would suggest so, although all of the above brands have used other strategies to sell their wares. Was that because the surfing connection didn’t deliver the goods? Can any readers provide enlightenment, please?

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