RIP Natives

mist tent

Sumer. Not supposed to last until November

Oh shit, is it winter already? Bugger. That’s what you get for signing up for a so-called ‘summer’ season which doesn’t finish until after the bloody ski show. What was I thinking about?

I’d like to say it was some kind of  super-awesome stoke which prodded me out of the summer slumber but I can’t because a) I can’t take myself seriously while doing so and b) unfortunately it wasn’t.

In fact, it was the final death knell of erstwhile seasonnaire website Natives, once the go-to resource for employers recruiting staff, seasonnaires in search of a more or less respectable way of funding a lot of skiing, drinking and sexual excess, and a bunch of grumpy language purists looking for victims (a bit random I know, but that’s the way it was, for some reason).

Having built the site and its loyal following from scratch out of an improvised office in his mother’s broom cupboard (I’m making this up – he might have had a lucrative lottery grant for all I know), founder Iain Martin flogged it off for millions (I’m making that up as well) to the Friday Ad, in order to start Skipedia, a fascinating site devoted entirely to marketing bollocks and its application to all things ski.

The Friday Ad, I ask you. An organisation which distributes a load of free papers dedicated to the private purchase and sale of everything from dodgy leather sofas through pedigree hamsters to vinyl gimp suits. And there’s nothing wrong with that either, but it can’t be denied that what they know (or care) about ski resort work and the people who do it could be written on the back of a postage stamp with their collective willies dipped in ink.

Might contain an ad for some second hand Rodeo skiwear I suppose

Might contain an ad for some second hand Rodeo skiwear I suppose

You could tell things were sliding inexorably into the corporate void when the front page consisted entirely of ads for gap courses and any effort at actual snow-related news disappeared altogether.

The subsequent revamp of the forums in Mr Kipling’s French Fancy colours and with markedly less functionality managed to send 90% of the existing posters into the welcoming arms of Facebook, without at the same time attracting new blood, resulting in a seasonnaire forum which is dead as a doornail in ski show season, a time of year when anyone lucky enough to have landed a resort job is verging on hysterical with anticipation and absolutely wetting themselves in their desire to talk about it incessantly. To anyone, even a bunch of total strangers on the web. In fact, preferably to a bunch of strangers on the web, since all their real friends have long since got into the habit of slapping them round the head every time they open their mouths.

But the final nail in the site’s coffin has to be today’s slogan competition. We Need a Slogan, it thunders, completely ignoring that fact that it already had a perfectly serviceable one in Iain’s ‘Knowledge is Powder’. Presumably that doesn’t suit its ‘brand’. Yes, it now has a ‘brand’, whatever the fuck that means, so the suits in charge need a new slogan which they can use ‘across their brand’. No, I can’t tell you what that means either. Absolutely nothing whatsoever, I strongly suspect, though in today’s spangly corporate world that’s a view which could quite possibly get you summarily shot in the face.

Not a problem they're going to have at Natives any time soon.

Not a problem they’re going to have at Natives any time soon.

But as they feel the need for a new strapline, they are generously offering ‘you guys’ (because you’re their best friends, innit. And they’re cool – you can tell by the fact that they used the word ‘awesome’ three times in three sentences.) the chance to come up with some piece of despicable marketing wank for which they would otherwise have had to pay a firm of consultants an arbitrarily eye-watering sum of cash.

And what are they offering for this money-saving service? A ‘seasonnaire starter pack’ worth £500! A bargain, you might think, containing everyting the noob seasonnaire might need! Er, no – let’s take a closer look at the detail of this fabulous prize.

First up, a Ruroc helmet/goggles combo, something which might come in handy at New Year fancy dress parties, but that’s about it. (I’m sure I’ve been though this before.) I have never ever met a seasonnaire (or anyone else for that matter) who would willingly wear one of these even if you paid them. Which shows you what the Friday Ad knows about anything.

Next, jacket and pants by Westbeach. Spiffy. Except that any half decent outerwear combo would pretty much cost £500 all on its own without the Darth Vader helmet and the rest of the crap, suggesting that either a) the Friday Ad can’t count or b) the stuff is going to be about as good as 20-year-old C&A Rodeo if you’re lucky.

Seriously, why don't they just offer us one of these and have done with it?

Seriously, why don’t they just offer us one of these and have done with it?

Further on, thermals, gloves and headphones. Again, if any of it was any good, that lot would have a total price tag of going on for £300. (Yes I know Skullcandy is a ‘brand’. Take it from me, their headphones are shit – mine are going on eBay the minute I get home from the Fatherland.)

And finally, some complete tat – more Westbeach end of line clothing, some shower gel (seriously, even I couldn’t make that one up), a few stickers.

These people are making absolutely no secret at all of the fact that they think we’re all just a bunch of witless salivating morons. Friday Ad – just fuck right off.

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About misplacedperson

Camping and snowboarding for a living. It may not be a career, but it's certainly a life.
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15 Responses to RIP Natives

  1. I’m too scared to google a Ruroc helmet to see just how bad it is. Sounds like they’ve found any old junk lying around the office from last year’s ski show. Thanks for the Tuesday morning comedy hour – top rant!

  2. Calvin says:

    If people are spending all their time on Facebook these kind of sites are going to struggle.
    If WE ask for cheap clothing primark is what WE get – trouble is I am not WE.

    • Everyone was quite happy tp post on Natives until the current management cocked it up. FB is adequate, but not really a substitute. Which gives you an idea of quite how much they cocked it up.

      • Boggart says:

        Nail. Hit. Head. I used to put my tuppence worth on Natives nearly everyday until the bean counters took over and gave it a right rodgering without a glove or lube or even a “do you mind.” It’s their loss of course because Mainframe Norman’s (aka: Iain M) genius was to get us to do all the work on putting out the info and the do’s and don’ts in the resorts, which generated the traffic and the profile of the site. Community banter is barely getting one post a day, two months before the season, we used to get it into the hundreds a day and ocasionaly into a 1000+. Mind you, I now get out more often.

  3. EvanS says:

    Indeed. We Are Pedants salutes you.

    Mind you, I quite fancy looking like Darth Vader.

  4. davkt says:

    You missed the Drift Ghost HD Action Camera out of the prize rundown, something actually sort of useful but then that only leaves them with £250 to spend on the rest of the crap!

  5. Stewart says:

    You seem to be mincing your words here. Can you please tell me, is the underlying meaning of this thread that you are not 100% positive about the direction of Natives?

    We our pedant’s also salutes you’re blog

  6. Alastair says:

    What’s wrong with 20 year old C&A Rodeo???

  7. Boggart says:

    You forgot the Drift Ghost HD camera which is 250 sovs without accessories and the prize states ‘with case and accessories’ so let’s say another 50 quid (or more) for those and that is £300 right there. So just 200 notes for a helmet that make you look like a bell-end, some dodgy clothing that only fits where it touches and with enough room to smuggle a St Bernard dog in yer crotch, a set of overpriced crap headphones and …..oh I can’t be bothered to go on.

    Of course the comp does say ‘wroth over £500’ but why play down the value of the prize? Or it could be that you are right and they can’t count or another possibly is that they bought a load of hooky calculators from a small ad in a freebie newspaper that don’t work.

    Still loving your work by the way.

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