Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Keynotes from the G.O.C.


With all the highlights and news from E3 dominating this blog in the recent weeks, the hype for one of the coolest events of the season got lost in the shuffle: The semi-annual Going Outside Convention.

Twice each year, representatives from some of the biggest draws in outdoor entertainment get together to discuss the merits of spending time in nature and try and sell Americans on the concept of exploring pastimes that don't rely on electricity and expensive peripherals. The Summer Edition of the fest was expectedly vibrant and energetic (as opposed to the Winter Edition that heralds in the new year), emphasizing the bright colors and activities - both light and strenuous - that traditionally accompany the end of the second quarter.

Find out what some of the more popular contingencies had to say after the jump.

The Trees: Despite early rumblings of some trouble in the forest, the tallest and stoutest members of the plant family came on strong this year. They focused their campaign on color, pointing out that their leaves will be the greenest and fullest at this time of year. If they can spur interest in leaves this early on in the calendar year, the Trees will be in a very good position for the Q3 changing of the leaves, which is usually when leaf interest is at its highest. The campaign also draws attention away from the trunk and bark-related activities, against which some complaints have been lodged - mostly stemming from sap output and issues with automobiles parked under them.

Grass: This year, the grass contingent chose to focus on "freshly cut" varieties of the plant. Presenters drew attention to the comforting look of a clean, manicured lawn, and also to the refreshing smell that has no parallel anywhere else in nature. One of the benefits of this particular strategy is that it allows for cross-marketing with various consumer products (lawnmowers, weed-killers) and services (landscape architects). Grass also gave shout-outs to baseball, the summer's most popular sport, and the quadrennial phenomenon, the World Cup, both of which are played on fields of manicured grass.

Flowers: Color combined with experimentation were the key words in the Flowers' 2010 message. Reminding everyone that they are pretty much the only features that can lend a variety of colors to the summer landscape, the flowers announced their plan to release several species with never-before-seen colors. Among the highlights were azaleas in highway-dividing-line yellow and roses in fuschienta (a blend of fuschia and magenta, pictured left).

Sky: Reactions from focus groups have indicated that clouds are out this year - one of the most vitriolic responses runs thus: "We loathe these mediators and mixers, the drifting clouds that are half-and-half and have learned neither to bless nor to curse from the heart" (Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 3.4). In response, the sky decided to ditch the half-blue/half-white color scheme of sky punctuated by clouds and has planned to showcase solid colors (in this case blue). Plan for plenty of clear days ahead!

Water: Focus was almost exclusively on loud, quick rushing types of water (rivers, waterfalls) in order to draw attention away from certain disasters related to standing water. Testimonials from whitewater rafters and waterfall barrel riders struck at the audience's funnybones, although others saw such diversions as empty publicity stunts rather than providing meaningful information.

Rocks: This year, Rocks are going horizontal rather than vertical. Drawing attention away from majestic towering crags - from which climbers can fall and boulders may slide - the contingent chose to focus on flat stretches of rock that make roads and trails. Traveling and fitness are two markets that go hand in hand with this strategy.

Writing about these proceedings has gotten me so excited about the outdoors, that I'm going to wrap up this blog post right now and go enjoy some of mother nature's bounty. Remember to wear plenty of sunscreen and to take full advantage of what the world has to offer.