Unbreakable, Zoo York Since 1993
Zoo York is an American company that manufactures Skateboards, Footwear and Apparel. Zoo York is targeted at the upper youth market. The company is said to have been the East Coast’s first true skateboarding inspired lifestyle brand. The product designs reflect old Zoo York Graffiti Style, and are sold in the US, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic.
The Zoo York Company was started in 1993 by Rodney Smith. Smith hired designer Eli Morgan Gessner and finance manager Adam Schatz. Recently, Smith sold the company to Marc Ecko so he could concentrate on restarting his previous company, Shut Skateboards.
Zoo York has the support of the Zoo Crew – a group comprised of New York City graffiti artists, musicians, designers, skateboarders, BMX bikers, snowboarders, surfers, and motocross racers.
Zoo York Skateboard Team
Professionals: Danny Barley, Forrest Kirby, Kevin Taylor, Aaron Suski, Zared Bassett
Amateurs: Ron Deily, Anthony Shetler, Lamare Hemmings, Matt Miller, Brandon Westgate, Eli Reed
Zoo York BMX Bike Team
Ruel Smith, Edwin De La Rosa, Vinnie Sammon
Zoo York Snowboard Team
Zoo York Surf Team
Professionals: Jun Jo, Ben McBrien, Robert Wurlitzer, Will Skudin, Mike Millin, Nick Jiampa
Armatures: Casey Lockwood, Morgan OConnell, Sean Killarney
Zoo York Motocross Team
Dayne Kinnaird, Ryan Mills, Jimmy McNeil
In 2004, actor Ashton Kutcher was featured in print ads introducing Zoo York’s Fall 2004 and Spring 2005 product lines. The advertisements ran in magazines including Mass Appeal, Blender, Stuff, Complex, and Maxim.
In 2007, Zoo York partnered with artist Mike Giant and the New York City non-profit youth organization Stoked Mentoring to create a limited edition skateboard and t-shirt. A portion of the sales went to Stoked Mentoring. The products and partnership were introduced at a launch party.
In 2008, Zoo York introduced two popular limited edition skateboards. One was the Lordz of Brooklyn band board. The band is known for its graffiti roots and blue collar pride. Zoo York released 500 Lordz of Brooklyn decks and t-shirts.
The other limited edition release was the Jenna Jameson skateboard. The product came out shortly after Jameson’s announcement to quit the adult industry. Advertisements promoting the Jenna Jamson board were created by ad agency DavidAndGoliath. The cartoon ads were created in a suggestive erotic, karma sutra style.
This summer, Zoo York will hold its first ever “Zoo York, New York Surf Clinic” in Long Island.
Earlier this year, Zoo York rolled out a line of commercials that parody the product headache relieving product HeadOn. On ad repeats “Zoo York, Apply Directly to Your Footwear,” and shows a user demonstrating how to place the skateboard under their feet. With the humorous voice over stating “Available without a Prescription.” Another ad in the campaign states “Apply Directly to Your Forehead,” and shows a user rubbing a shoe across their forehead.
Most recently, ad agency DavidAndGoliath released a 30 and a 60 second television advertisement for Zoo York. The commercials feature cockroaches, and link viewers to the campaign website: ZooYork.com/roaches .
The 60 second roaches spot is titled “Spread The Word.” In the spot, a group of well-known, professional skateboarders and BMX bikers – including Ruel Smith, Donny Barley and Anthony Shelter – paint hundreds of cockroaches with the Zoo York company logo, and throw them at passerby’s at New York’s Wall Street.
The spot is reminiscent of a 2006 campaign by the agency Droga5 for a video game made for Marc Ecko Enterprises – Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure. The 30 second spot, titled “Tough,” shows two cockroaches talking until one gets hit by a skateboarder, yet although flattened, is still alive and talking. The idea behind the cockroach mascots is that cockroaches are unbreakable, and so Zoo York and its products will be as well.
The cockroach advertisements air on MTV, ESPN and Fuel TV. There is an uncensored version of the 30 second spot online at ZooYork.com/roaches. There have even been discussions about product extensions involving the roaches.