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7/10/2003

Logical dudes

By Pierrette J. Shields
The Daily Times-Call

LONGMONT — Tony Hawk, Dave Mirra and Shaun Palmer.

With those high-cachet names, Case Logic is applying a little marketing logic to a new product line.

The local company is looking to cash in on the recognizability of some of the best-known extreme athletes and tap their knowledge of the ever-increasing popularity of the alternative sports.

“We’ve taken the top athletes and created these products around them,” said Walter Lockhart, Case Logic’s new business development manager.

The local company — which makes cases for all manner of electronic and business wares — is delving into its first marketing campaign backed by celebrities with a special line of products that are endorsed by BMX star Dave Mirra, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and snowboarder Shaun Palmer.

“They actually helped in the actual design of the product, as well as the packaging,” Lockhart said.

The company is billing the line of CD, MP3 and game cases and wallets as its “Action Sports Signature Series,” riding on the popularity of extreme sports, which in the past decade have challenged the popularity of team sports such as baseball, football and soccer.

Mirra, 29, in Colorado last weekend for the Vans Triple Crown of BMX competition at the Pepsi Center, visited the Case Logic offices along the Diagonal Highway to look over the line of products bearing his name.

He said he has followed BMXing from its days as a “grassroots, small, dirty skatepark sport” and had floored many people who told him he’d never make anything of his life by riding a bike.

“Whether I made money at it or not, I was going to do it,” he said. “I knew I loved riding a bike.”

While many adults may not bubble at the names, Lockhart said they are heroes to kids who watch ESPN, play video games and follow the sports magazines.

Case Logic’s isn’t the only logo spattered on Mirra’s chest as he competes. Recently, sitting in a conference room at Case Logic, Mirra played with a T-Mobile phone — another sponsor.

He said companies have clearly caught onto the marketability of the extreme athletes with clothing, products and video games.

Like Hawk’s, Mirra’s name is featured on popular video games.

Lockhart visited local schools and found that the athletes have attained rock-star status and are setting trends. He said the kids can even repeat which companies endorse which athletes.

Pierrette J. Shields can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 273, or by e-mail at pshields@times-call.com.