Re "Shoe Logo on a Park? Lake Forest Says It's a Good Fit," April 14:
I believe the article was out of context and made some good people out to be something other than what they actually are. It took a donation and twisted it into corporate greed.
I was irritated that the reporter tried to make Etnies look like an evil company trying to manipulate the city of Lake Forest. As far as I am concerned, someone giving that much money should be given some special privileges.
The Etnies deal is like a good deed that is being looked at differently by the newspaper. I'll bet there are plenty of facilities in cities around the country that are named after their sponsors.
Don't confuse a donation with blatant marketing efforts. I think Etnies should be applauded for stepping in, offering to help make sure the city gets a well-designed skate park and offering to pay to make sure it happens that way.
The Skatepark Coalition
While USC marketing professor Michael A. Kamins pontificates from his ivory tower about the fall of civilization because cities are willing to partner with private entities in order to save the taxpayers money, the average working taxpayer appreciates the ingenuity of cities like Lake Forest. What is so inappropriate about having a skateboard apparel company and other local businesses helping to fund a skate park?
Skateboarding is an authentic lifestyle, evidenced by its significant global fashion and sporting influence. Etnies is, quite literally, an icon of that lifestyle. That the company expanded the relevance of skateboarding past its production lines is simply an evolution of its core value: to promote the sport and spirit of skateboarding.
Etnies originally did this through the production of innovative shoe designs. All it's doing now, with respect to sponsoring a park, is expanding its influence to wholesome initiatives in the community. By including its moniker in the mix, the company is not claiming "ownership" of any advertising real estate; rather, it's using its name, a bellwether brand in the world of action sports, to further expand the relevance of skateboarding and to afford board sports enthusiasts new opportunities to participate in a clean, social, healthy activity.
If the company wants to sponsor a park, it's doing it for all the right reasons. To invoke the Etnies name in support of a hackneyed "Desecration by Corporate Sponsorship" story line demonstrates a complete lack of insight.
Ocean Pacific Apparel Corp.
I find it ironic that a business professor at USC would lament the fact that Etnies paid the city of Lake Forest $100,000 for naming rights to a skate park. Isn't Michael A. Kamins a professor at the Marshall Business School? This blatant example of naming rights must outrage him. Let's see if the hypocritical Kamins resigns in protest unless the Marshall name is taken off the USC business school. Maybe the professor in his outrage will also look around campus for any other violations of naming rights. I wouldn't hold my breath.