A history lesson...

Lame Ads

Back when riding was really popular (before ESPN "rediscovered" it and dubbed it extreme), there were a ton of freestyle magazines. And to keep these magazines in circulation, there were a lot of ads; some were fine, others were so dumb it was embarassing. So, Brian and I decided to go through some of the old magazines and single out a couple of the lamest ones.

I realize that there are probably worse ones than these, but I didn't feel like spending an entire week going through the stacks of old BMX Plus and Freestylin' -- but I'm sure you'll agree that these are bad enough. So without any further delay, here are the five that I picked...

5. "Eddie's Back", Citicat
(August 1988 Freestylin')

I've never seen anyone use this Citicat bike -- including Ed. The bike is dumb: the suspension in the middle is no good for anything, despite that Eddie says "after a while you get used to the suspension and start using it to your advantage." I don't believe it.

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4. "Flirtin' with Dizzaster", CW
(November 1986 BMX Plus!)

Dizz Hicks was quite the character. You gotta kinda admire a guy who specialized in trick ramp (he ruled kick turns!) and openly loves Twisted Sister so much as to adopt the look of Dee Snyder (minus makeup, thank God). But I wasn't quite sure what was meant by this ad: ride a CW, do stupid tricks, and pick up whores? I don't get it.

3. "Leading Edge", Odyssey
(Spring 1987 Action: The Mag)

Odyssey executive #1: "Kids are really into these balance tricks. Lets make a seat with a ball-point pen-like tip to make the easiest tricks idiot-proof!"

Odyssey executive #2: "Great idea! Now what do we do about an ad?"

Odyssey executive #1: "How about using a clever concept?

Odyssey executive #2: "Yeah! We could have a rider dress up like a cowboy, chaps and all, then actually do a cowboy!

Odyssey executive #1: "Sounds good, even though it doesn't actually show any use for the seat..."

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2. "No More Pain", Hammer
(June 1988 Freestylin')

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When I was going through the magazines, there seemed to be a common theme in a lot of them: riding bikes = getting girls. (One ad that almost made it here was Skyway's "Be Scene" ad that had Eddie Roman and Kevin Jones flanked by a couple BMX-loving chicks.) Too many of them had girls hanging around riders, looking really impressed that the guy is on a BMX bike doing a lame trick. But this Hammer ad always confused me. I don't know if R.L. thought that if he sat flanked by two really ugly, beefy women, it would help sell shin guards. Or maybe they were just friends of his. Or possibly still, pickings were quite slim for models to use. Whatever the case was, this was a pretty dumb-ass ad. (Good for Primo for making fun of it in one of their ads!)

1. "Street Surfer", Randor
(March 1988 Freestylin')

The late 1980's brought the scooter craze with it. Despite what Jim McGraw might tell you, this was a pretty pointless fad (and thank God it was a fad). But the fad drew morons who had the bright idea of combining a near-useless vehicle (the scooter) with something else to make a completely-useless piece of shit.

One of these was this half scooter/half skateboard; I can't find one good reason it should exist. In smaller print the ad said "it's our baby exclusively and we're proud of it!" Good thing we didn't have a bunch of Street Surfer knockoffs running around! (As if owning one of these wasn't bad enough, imagine having a counterfeitone.) And they really are proud of this? I know there's a fine line between genius and insanity, but despite the ad's claim of "inventive genius", someone at Randor is obviously completely insane.

And if that by itself doesn't earn it a place among the worst BMX ads (and worst BMX ideas, for that matter), this kid's outfit...I can't even begin to believe it. The pastel colors, the checkers, the flowers...it's enough to make anyone wish they were blind. I find it hard to believe that street surfer Johnny Rogosich from Hewitt, NJ actually wanted to be identified in this ad...

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I've received severa; messages regarding ads that should be here, but aren't. I realize that there are ads worse than these, but I limited myself to five, plus I didn't want to spend all night looking for crappy ads (although it was fun for one night). So if you notice some glaring omissions or have some comments, e-mail me and I'll add them here...

  • I have all of those mags with those ads in, plus quite a few more. However, I do feel that you missed some equally lame ones out, such as the lame 'Freestylin' by Skyway' ad, you know the one with the kid on a TA with a bolt on platform, giving it the BMX finger -- f**kin cheese. Also, how about the 'Visage' bikes ads where Doug Randazzo and co. look like a bunch of pimps (see: Martin Aparijo -- the stereotypical US pimp!). -- Nick

  • One could put a whole issue of Super BMX in this gallery. That was the cheez whiz man! Remember the Larry Wilcox days (the guy from CHiPs) or Ricky Schroeder on a BMX for the centerspread poster? Oh hurt me! I saw Dizz Hicks ride at a AFA Masters contest in Portland in '87 -- it was pure hell on wheels. -- Ken

  • I agree, you could put a whole issue of Super BMX in this gallery. As a BMX grom of the eighties, this page was a frightening flashback. I remember an A.B.A. race in Fremont, CA. Larry Wilcox was making his BMX debut, and the race announcer let everybody know he was getting ready to do a few practice laps. With all eyes on, he charges straight armed off the gate, pedals to the first "speed bump" (no shit, 8 inches high) and endos horribly, breaking his collarbone and shutting practice down for 45+ minutes. Guess it was a little too extreme. Never did like that guy anyways. -- Dave Manson

  • As far as old ads go, they were pretty lame. But, I don't think some companies have learned from the 80's!! Gary and his chainsaw, whatever. And those new inserts by Mongoose!!! How much do they pay Tim Hall to make a fool of himself? The Mongoose rep. told me that he wanted us to put this big Mongoose billboard outside the shop. He said, "Place it at street level, so kids will graffitti on it". Then Mongoose will look hardcore. O.K. dude whatever!!!!! I'm tellin' you, these companies just never learn!!!

  • Odyssey Gyro ad with two archaeologists holding an ACS rotor. The one guy is saying, "Wow, this is primitive, nothing like the Gyros we use today." I, being the physical anthropology major, am personally offended by that ad. I would be digging up Dyno brake guards and those bolt-on stereo speakers that Dennis McCoy had mounted on his handlebars. You can really ridicule those! Alas, did you notice that the guy on the Street Surfer is from NJ? It's scary sometimes when I think of all the embarrasing things in BMX that have come from NJ. -- Brian Tunney

  • I'll surf the net for hours before I find something this funny again. Thanks for the entertainment. -- L.A.S.T. Trails rep.

Uploaded September 1996.