Icon delivers brand mythology

Dailies -


Icon_Delivery.jpgIcon continues to impress with its strong grasp of branding, turning a very young label into one of the most recognizable in motorcycling with unique products and striking, on-message creative. This latest example is “The Delivery” a short comic-style animation that doesn’t push the products too hard, but rather integrates them into a fun narrative, thus helping push the Icon mythology. Now when are they going to figure out that creative deserves a better home than publications exclusively read by old white men? >


  • Jordan J.

    Don’t mean to be that guy, but…

    That was worse than Eddie Murphy’s ‘The P.J.s’.

  • CMC

    I like the cartoon and the imagery, but I felt it moved a little slowly. I also really love the custom bikes they’ve built and do like a lot of their gear, though I don’t have any of it, personally.

    Wes, how do you propose they get their message out to the kids who would buy their stuff, if not on Teh Internetz?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      That’s the problem, they spend all their money in teh printz and not just in any printz, but in Depends and Dementia Thrice Quarterly.

      • CMC

        I see… I just check the FB and they have a pathetic little page that’s never updated. Though their website is pretty trick.

        I still prefer Dainese and A*’s but then again I’m a 36 year old lawyer with a clean record, not a 22 year old with 6 points and a gixxah. lolz.

  • shinigami

    “Now when are they going to figure out that creative deserves a better home than publications exclusively read by old white men?”

    Probably around the time they figure out that riders deserve better than flimsy textiles and questionable design.

  • RockStarArtist

    @Shinigami —

    Man you are so right. I bought an Icon textile jacket, wrist cuff button broke within a month, then the collar cuff snap, at the 3 month mark the zipper splayed out at the bottom and the jacket was de-threading itself at the seams. Terrible.

    You should’ve seen my buddies Icon gloves at the 3 month mark. Very de-threaded.

    I then thought about the value of my skin and have sworn off anything Icon. What looks cool doesnt necessarily mean quality.

  • WHAT?!

    did anyone notice the name of the magazine the guy in the apts was reading?! i think it said “scatplay” wtf?!?!

    • Dave

      “Scatplay Monthly” probably has more circulation than Cycle World.

      Nice. On-message. Feeds the emotional drivers for an Icon purchase.

      I like it.

      • vic

        ahaha scat play magazine.must remember to update my subscription before it runs(:D) out.

        i too am less than impressed with the quality of their textile garments in particular.

  • Sid

    Icon…… delivering little sacks of pearls to the Dark Lord since 2002?

  • generic1776

    Oh. Shit. That was totally, sweet.

    ICON’s web videos are, by far, the best web advertising for motorcycle product.

    (Although the various Multistrada 1200 videos of interviewing the engineers/designers have probably done the most to me for imagining how I can part with $20k.)

  • Sean Smith

    Icon is a joke. I’ll tell ya why: Icon makes gear for the part of the sportbike crowd that just doesn’t ‘get it.’ The guys that buy a sportbike, but use it as a cruiser, use it to do wheelies, or just wipe it with a diaper.

    Gear for the street? Yeah right. I ride the street everyday, and there’s nothing in the Icon range I could use. Literally nothing. A jacket that zips to my armored pants? A suit with some pucks on it? Some waterproof gear thats more than just an overpriced poncho? Boots with real protection?

    These are things I use damn near everyday; I mean, I can’t wear a suit and my commuting gear at the same time…

    The point is that Icon puts form over function, and while thats fine and dandy for the art crowd, this is motorcycle gear we’re talking about and it has a job to do.

    Pull your heads out of your asses and build that suit on the cover of Motorcyclist. If its half as good as it looks, I would honestly buy one.

    You guys want to run with the big boys of the gear world? You want respect? You wanna make a buck? Make things that are relevant, and start with a suit.

    Phew. Man do I hate me some squidly ass Icon gear…

    • John

      @ Sean Smith

      Um… wow dude. Just wow. I ride the street everyday, am not a squid, and have several Icon items that have not fallen apart and would save my @ss if needed. If you want a full leather suit… look elsewhere, Icon gear isn’t really for the track per se’. I have their motorhead leather jacket, love it, their tarmac 2 gloves, and one of their newer helmets, and no complaints here…
      I’m not an Icon fanboy or anything, just think that they may be better than was described by your comment.

      • Sean Smith

        Yep. I’m ultra-super harsh to these guys. But I’m serious here. Do you know what happens when you hit the ground in a jacket and jeans? 9 times out of 10, the jacket pulls up to expose your soft underbelly, and the road slays it like a knight taking down a dragon.

        I’m intimately familiar with Icon’s products; I’m a damn dealer for the stuff. Whenever they have a new release, the catalogue shows up at the shop, and I go through it with a fine tooth comb hoping to see something cool. Alas, there are only two things I can think of that don’t totally freakin blow: Their PDX rain bib, which comes up extra high to prevent damp cold groin, and the Squad II backpack does hold a lot of stuff, and it’s got a neat front closure.

        As far as the suit goes: I do have one, and I’m going to be buying another soon. I’m not familiar with your riding habits, but mine include 40-300 canyon miles every week, and that means a new set of pucks at least once a month. The suit is much more for the street than it is for the track.

        • John

          Well, I sure wouldn’t be selling anything that I didn’t think was great, or at least good.

          Perhaps you should drop their products from your store?

          Yeah, I only ride around 500 miles a week & I live in NC, so we really don’t have ANY twisty roads around here……..(laughs)

    • Shawn

      Dude –

      I don’t think you “Get it”. Icon makes gear for people riding around town. Their gear is more than adequate for that. A tracksuit?…. that’s for the fuckin track. duh. Icon = Street Gear.

      As for riding a sport bike around like it’s a cruiser…. how else are you supposed to ride it when the speed limit is 35? Drag your knee at 150mph as you pass the local McDonald’s? Kinda Squidy…..

      And finally….. what is with everyone constantly bitching about who wears what? If you want to wear a tracksuit or a fuckin tank top and shorts….. it doesn’t affect me one bit. It’s your ass that has to deal with the consequences …. not mine.

      • Sean Smith

        Yep. I do in fact often break the law on my sportbike. It was a secret, but you caught me.

        Dragging a knee at a buck fifty? Come on now, that’s a little unreasonable for the street. Railing through a canyon, you’re not really moving with all that much speed. Case in point: I’ve passed the CHP cranked all the way over dragging a boot, and they didn’t even blink.

        The point is that there are a whole ton of guys who drag knees on the street, and we all wear some form of neck to shin leather, with the faster guys rocking pucks. Do we break the law? Yeah, sometimes. How about the ‘outlaw stunter’ crowd Icon caters to? Yep. And usually more visibly than the canyon crowd.

        Since no ones dragging a knee past golden arches at hyperspeed (which would indeed be squidly), I’ll point out that wearing baggy, inferior gear IS in fact something a squid does.

        To John: Parts Unlimited carries (and owns) Icon, and I’m a parts dealer. I don’t have the stuff in the store, but in theory someone could order it from me if I couldn’t talk them into something better. In theory…

        • jason

          “I’ve passed the CHP cranked all the way over dragging a boot, and they didn’t even blink.”


          dude, when I read your posts you sound like Higgins from Magnum P.I.

        • K2theM

          “I’ve passed the CHP cranked all the way over dragging a boot, and they didn’t even blink.”

          Drag boot? Anyone can drag boot. Cruisers can drag boot. Heck! I’d drag boot all the time doing the speed limit on my KLR. lol.

          I think you miss the point. The point is this: I don’t want to look like Ricky Racer when I get off my bike. I commute every day to work/school and I sure don’t want to walking in between classes in full race leathers like some puppet (not to mention trying to fit into some of the seats/desks with full leathers on and still have note taking ability would be an ordeal). I love Icon gear because it looks good and works; not only on a bike, but when I’m off it walking around. Plus, I’ve been down in some Icon gear and it has performed admirably.

  • RT Moto

    Horrible only begins to describe it. I look at ICON gear and laugh. Sure they have all the “rad” designs but they can’t expect me to take their build quality serious. Their brand is utter garbage much like this video.

  • Jj

    Its like they filmed my commute to work.

  • http://bcrooks.com ducatista


    I do like your site and visit it daily. I’ve been a creative director for a while and this juvenile and poorly animated piece of shit would never have left my agency. I live in Philly and I see this kind squid attitude on the street every day. Three posts later you run a story about the new MSF study and rider training updates which has me curious, what is your point of view exactly? ICON is narrow-casting and sending a very bad message – if they spent half as much on product development as they do on their agency they might become a reasonable consideration for people who actually ride.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Well you have to look at who their audience is. It’s not a couple too cool for school guys who work in the creative industry, it’s teenagers and people who wear baggy jeans. They’re the only brand reaching out to that audience and they’re putting people who wouldn’t otherwise wear gear into helmets, gloves, jackets with armor, back protectors etc.

      • http://bcrooks.com ducatista

        I think it’s reminiscent of a dumb stunt pulled by Urban Outfitters a while back.

        Get rich by “buying stolen properties, pimpin hoes, building crack houses and getting car jacked!”
        “You got yo whole neighborhood addicted to crack. Collect $50.” Score!
        With lines like that, how could Urban Outfitters have predicted that people would be offended by it selling and promoting “Ghettopoly”?

        Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-biggest-corporate-pr-disasters-of-the-decade-2009-12#urban-outfitters-sells-racist-board-game-2003-4#ixzz0kzMuz9iZ

        I understand ‘target marketing’ as well as promoting stereotypes. Was the big boobed heroine well protected in the event of a get-off? Mostly I’m offended by the piss poor Flash animation and action movie theme. Bad concept, bad creative. ICON needs a new ad shop. Badly.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

          ducatista, I’m going to go out on a limb here and state I think you’re way off by comparing this Icon video to Urban Outfitters, and if anything I think you’re merely showing how off-demo you are for Icon’s target marketing.

          Also, are you a fogey? Because I have the feeling you might be. It’s okay if you are, I’m nearly there myself. I ask because I kinda feel you would otherwise know this video is absolutely steeped in underground comics going back well over 30 years now and indie animation as far back as the Aeon Flux vids of the early nineties, plus earlier work as well. Action, violence, big boobs, sex, fetichism and sci-fi mysticism are stylistic par for the course.

          I think this video is exactly what it should be for the market Icon is reaching out to and the production level is dead on.

          • http://bcrooks.com ducatista


            Yes I am a fogey and damn proud of it. I’m familiar with Aeon Flux, Akira, Vetigo comics, the lot. I know what the video was trying to evoke it’s just that I feel it fell a tad short of the mark. I only reacted so strongly because I anticipated some ‘brand mythology’ but instead found a trite and hackneyed spot. A more imaginative storyline and better production values would have been just as on-demo and a good deal less pandering. You’re in the biz and know how us CD’s are – we’re paid to be picky and opinionated. Just cause I’m a fogey doesn’t mean I’m a curmudgeon.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j756wmry1XI Squidly

      nothing I can’t stand more than arrogant designers.

  • pbxorcist

    Actually, I think the quality and usefulness of their gear is top notch. I’ve had a Timax textile jacket and the old Hooligan gloves for five years now, with well over 50k miles on them. That is five years of riding year round in all conditions. Those gloves and that jacket have been soaked and scorched many many time, and the only thing that has started to fail is the stitching in the middle finger of one of the gloves.

    I like the look, I like the fit, and its one of the few brands I don’t remove the logos from. Their gear has a completely different look, that saves me from looking like a pirate or a power ranger, and I appreciate the urban feel of their designs.

  • Jackie

    Ahhhh Icon…squid-wear at it’s best.
    Buy it on Saturday, smear it across the pavement on Sunday.

  • Jesper

    Dudes…seriously…to each his own but I will say this:

    I love my sportbike and I totally dig the ICON style. Being a chic with a bike, it’s hard to find cool gear. I have had many compliments on my gear that is solely ICON while out running the pavement. I have purchased many ICON items to date not because they are shabby and fall apart and need to be replaced, but rather because they keep things fresh. I was even able to sell my first merc textile jacket (used, 2 years old) on eBay for about the same as what I spent when I purchased it because it had held up SO WELL! The buyer even sent me a personal email expressing what a great deal it was!

    I found the video amusing but if you don’t agree, that is your prerogative and everyone is entitled to their opinion…I just think it’s kinda lame to trash the brand because you didn’t find their animation to your taste.

    • vic

      you do raise a good point when you talk about gear for women.basicly apart from icon only dainese does nice riding jackets for women which doesn’t turn them into body builders.granted the dainese is nicer.if you ever get enough cash togher buy the liu or the dominia suits.they are track worthy but are cut on a woman’s body and actually accentuate the nice bits http://www.dainese.com/eu_en/motorbike/t-yu-p-lady.html?gender=1&cat=9

  • Rider XYZ

    Wow, Everyone take a chill pill… Its a cartoon…
    I did like the comment about the demographic that they are going for… the kids who would normally skid across the pavement in shorts and flippy-floppies and no helmets or protective gear, yet now they are at least wearing something that they like and it covers the skin and might save some if it. If you like A*’s, then wear it. If you like Suomy or Arai, then wear that. We all have a choice and an opinion, if Icon doesn’t fit your bill, don’t buy it. I wear it not because you like it or don’t. As for creative design… everyone is a designer in their own mind. If you dont like the video, dont watch it. Enjoy the ride…

  • jason

    video was fun, sounds like the bitter old guys that commented above were expecting a sweaty dude walking barefoot over glass…or they just hate the world

    I crashed super hardcore wearing all Icon gear and my life was spared thanks to the gear, so I’ve tested it to the fullest and it works just fine….I wasn’t wearing a fagbag to protect my precious suit.

    yes I like Icon

  • Peter

    I have had almost all Icon gear with the exception of shoes, and I’ll say this…

    They make the best looking reflective mil-spec vest on the market.

    The buttons and tabs on various items do not hold up well under strain. The button on my pants has ripped some, one of the snaps on one sleeve has popped off and the snaps on the gloves are gone too.

    I’m not sure how the pants would really serve me in a crash, I had one minor run in with a guard rail and they seemed to soak up the abrasion well.

    I’m graduating to Rev’It gear as I can for a two piece Sand suit. Top flight stuff like my Sidi On-Road boots and Arai Profile just feel too good and secure when you’re riding, and I do a fair amount of tour distance riding, the Icon gear feels like it might melt under real stress.

    It’s a great look, though – urban warrior, paratrooper cuts. Really good for those of us who like to feel the whole ‘me against the world’ vibe.

    Thanks for the write-ups (especially the stuff about the Ural ST, as one of my bikes is a Ural rig!)


  • HW Pfabe

    I don’t know about the jackets or over-pants, since the ones of both I’ve wanted have been on backorder every time I’ve tried to get them, but I have a pair of gloves (bought new 3 years ago) and a pair of boots (bought used 3 years ago), as well as a helmet I bought for my girlfriend (new, 2 years ago). Though thankfully none of them have been put to the test in a crash, they’ve all held up perfectly this whole time. And I live in New England and ride and wear this gear on my commute every day, rain or shine, as long as the temp is above 40F.
    As for needing full suits with pucks… well, those of you who need knee pucks for your commute to work, I guess I’m a little jealous of your roads, but I just don’t need them.

  • Matt

    It’s funny to me how people who drag knees riding on the street in full road race leathers somehow think they are not squidly. You have to be breaking some serious laws to get a knee down on the street. I think the full race suits tend to give people a false sense of security. Road race leathers are great when you are sliding from 100mph across wide open track… but they really don’t do much better than anything else when you hit an oncoming minivan, or a guardrail, or whatever… I run Icon gear on the street because it has all the protection I need for my daily riding situations. I commute every day rain or shine on 2 wheels. I’ve been unfortunate enough to have “tested” the gear several times on the street and it did it’s job perfectly.

  • BL

    “Now when are they going to figure out that creative deserves a better home than publications exclusively read by old white men?”

    they have a blog, a website, a facebook page, exist on every dealer website, catalog…jason britton’s back…and 2 wheel Tuner old white men read 2wT…i don’t think so!

    you really want to see more of them?


    in a banner ad on HFL by chance?

    “deserve a better home” = pay me for ad space???????????

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Believe me, that’s not what we’re saying.

      • BL

        what are you saying then?

        you want them to get an art gallery?

        • CMC

          roffle. but with 14 gixxahs lined up around the perimeter like a filmstrip.

  • Sid

    Since we are dissing baggy riding gear…. I’d like it if someone would come along and make some slim cut riding jeans for us non mc gangstas. I hate flappy jeans. How about a slim jacket with longer arms? Isn’t the gangsta look over anyway. Anyone?

    • Sean Smith

      Alpinestars are your guys.


      They seem a little pricey at $160, and yeah, they don’t come with armor, but the pocket is there. I backordered a pair when they were first announced, and they are hands down the slickest riding pants I’ve ever seen. They fit like slightly boot-cut levi’s 511′s, and they’re a little big in the knee’s to accommodate armor.

      The smart protectors that Astars makes, but refuses to sell to the public ‘fit’ in the pockets, but they’re just three plies of cheesy thick foam.

      They run a little small, just a heads up.

      For your jacket, the Kinetic is pretty damn nice. It’s textile, and won’t provide the same protection that leather will, but at least it’s waterproof, armored, and comes with a removable liner.


      Yeah, I know I sound like a fanboy that might even work for Astars, but I’m not. I’m just a guy that geeks out over the new Parts Unlimited catalogues when they show up at work.

  • meatsmasher

    “To John: Parts Unlimited carries (and owns) Icon, and I’m a parts dealer. I don’t have the stuff in the store, but in theory someone could order it from me if I couldn’t talk them into something better. In theory…”

    In theory you could make money and service your local motorcyclist without bias like a smart businessman and a good dealer does.

    You are the reason dealers are closing left and right.

    /me wheelies past you while watching cool Icon video on in dash monitor

    Ride Among Us… or at least dress like us and REALLY piss people off!

    • Sean Smith

      I make 80% of my money on engine builds. Gear is a drop in the bucket, and I won’t sell something I don’t believe in. I mean, what kind of company decides that instead of producing a nice looking 1 piece suit, they’re gonna build a jacket that echo’s the ultra-lame Affliction brand.

      Then there’s always this gem:


      You guys really raised the bar there. I mean, before Icon the best we could do was ass-less leather chaps. You guys upped the bar! Ass-less Nylon chaps! Now that’s innovation.

      /hit’s squids kill-switch at the light.

      • Chris

        I quite enjoyed the advertisements, and I went to their blog to check out the video and see if they had any more.

        ‘Lo and behold, I find your comments right underneath the video, spamming the company with the same crap you’re spewing here. Do you seriously have nothing better to do than to harass companies on the internet? I mean, it’s okay to not like it, but why go to such lengths?

        • Sean Smith

          Eh, boredom may have been a factor… That, and I’ve emailed them about this suit of theirs I’ve been seeing around, and they won’t even give me the time of day.

          I used to own some of their gear, and I ended up giving it away with the warning that it’s totally not safe. It just bugs the shit out of me that Icon makes products that are cheesy and over-priced, and then try’s to apply harley davidson bad-boy marketing to the sportbike crowd.

  • http://bcrooks.com ducatista

    Langlitz and Belstaff are stupid expensive, why not go with Vanson? More expensive than ICON and Joe Rocket but you might own it ten years down the line. For what it’s worth the Vanson site sucks – I’m an equal opportunity arrogant designer.

  • pdub

    Icon delivers protection mythology. Reality delivers skin crayons.

  • Kerry

    My wife has an Icon Helmet from 2005, that is one tough little sumbitch and she wouldn’t trade it for anything. I don’t think I would buy Icon now because I have noticed a steady decline in the quality of their products since about 2007. Their older stuff tends to be really tough and practical but the new stuff seems to be fashon-y and cheaply made. Some of it also seems like a poor design from a crash standpoint.

    Grant, fogey or not the animation is kinda campy in that it doesn’t sell to just the young demographic, it sells to the young and stupid demographic and reinforces bad riding habits. Believe it or not there are a whole bunch of twenty somethings out there with liter rockets that half believe they can actually jump their motosikle off the front of a countach if they were only given the chance. I met one last night on a brand new R1 coming over the 59th street bridge. no riding skills, brand new bike with huge chicken strips, and all he could talk about at the light was building up his wheelie chops. Had been riding a week. Was decked out head to toe in icon gear (except for his jeans), all of it baggy.

    • BL

      oh my god, a new motorcycle rider decked out head to toe in motorcycle gear…for shame, FOR SHAME@@!!~!~!~

      well, we know where he DIDN”T buy it….Sean…

  • John

    We didn’t all come out of the womb dragging knee pucks in canyons. We were all squids at one point, I think people need to lighten up. I thought the animation had a gritty street vibe that the Icon brand embellishes.

  • motoexplorer

    I’m 40 and I like Icon’s advertisements and I think their gear looks really cool – especially their wild looking helmets. “gritty street vibe” somebody called it. Urban Houligan maybe? They could’ve left out the bouncing breast bit in the first part of the video though…

    I don’t pass judgement anymore on why people ride or what they ride. Want to dress up like a biker and ride the Harley – go for it. Icon gear on a clapped out R1 pulling wheelies and burnouts – go for it (just play cool out there ok). Want to dress up like Valentino for a weekend of pretend GP in the canyon corners – go for it.

    At the end of the day motorcycling, among all of its parts, is one part fashion. To deny this is complete BS. We all have a certain “look” that we desire when riding. Whether that’s street urban grit, eurotrash down at the Ducati espresso hangout, Harley biker, Long Way Round adventure rider, or Aerostich iron-butt-rider.

    Some may say that they ONLY buy gear based on function and/or safety and I say BS to that as well. Even if you buy a bright white helmet and an Aerostich safety yellow Darien, yes there is obviously a decision being made about function with this gear, but I also contend that your also trying to project a certain image. Wearing a ‘Stich among certain rider groups is like a super-secret-handshake: “oh, your one of us”. And that’s OK.

    Now excuse me while I take the afternoon off to go riding on my Triumph Scrambler with my Barbour International Jacket and lace up boots….Damn I’ll look cool…

  • fireninja

    The haters on this thread are missing a vital point. Let’s for a moment assume that your picture of an Icon clad rider is correct (i.e. a young hooligan on a race replica or streetfighter) — this is a kid who is now wearing something other than a tanktop and flipflops — a scenario that helps all of our insurance rates. Frankly, if they can make riding gear that the 18 year olds think is stylish and choose to wear they are doing the entire riding community a service.

    That said, I have owned 5 different pieces of Icon gear and they were about as well made as the Joe Rocket, Fieldsheer, Scorpion, and other comparable items I have owned. No, they are not in the same league as my Schott jacket(s), but they were not $600 either.