Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Behind the Scenes of OTW: Interview with Rodney Rambo

In the third part of our Behind The Scenes of OTW feature we sat down for an interview with Vans OTW Senior Marketing Manager Rodney Rambo to find out more about the future of OTW, what's Advocate's Passion project, Jamaica, 12 hours on the job and working hard, playing hard. Get the full interview after the jump!

YS: Please introduce yourself and what is your role at Vans OTW?

Rodney Rambo: My name is Rodney Rambo and I directly manage several key categories Vans. For the purposes of this interview we will focus on OTW.

YS: Would you please describe your typical day at Vans OTW HQ?

Rodney Rambo: One thing I love about OTW and Vans is that there is never a typical day. I do my best to try and get through a 100 or so e-mails in the morning and break my day up by different projects we are doing within OTW. For instance, I may spend a couple hours booking travel or working with Advocates on their Passion projects then flip the scrip and work with our media partners on placement and future advertising opportunities. We are a complete in-house marketing department so anything you see hear or know about OTW comes from here.

YS: That sounds really rad!

Rodney Rambo: I've been in the action sports industry for nearly 16 years and I have to say things have never been better. Working with Independent creatives like the OTW Advocates and promoting fashion forward products is a dream job.

YS: It sure does reflect on how OTW is presented and the way things get done from the visuals to the people you work with, as well as the product is as strong as ever. How would you describe the current state of OTW and where it's heading?

Rodney Rambo: We really spend a lot of time working on strategy and I make it a priority to keep the product and message authentic and true to Vans. OTW is really transitioning/developing from launch phase to a full-fledged strategic category for Vans. We truly believe this category is developed for those that deem themselves as independent creatives . Individuals that live their lives free of societal norms and define street culture to the masses.

Rodney Rambo: I see OTW becoming a much larger category in the years to come which basically delivers influential looks and key aspirational styles to the street wear inspired consumer.

YS: That seems like quite a good strategy and I've got to say the ripple effects of it are getting more and more noticeable.

Rodney Rambo: I would really like to see OTW be a category that shows Vans dedication to progressive street style. Street fashion encompasses so many things: Fashion, Music, Art, actions sports. The list can go on for days. You know. OTW is a great place to be... It allows me the opportunity to work in so many different places.

YS: Absolutely! It's a lifestyle. Where did the idea of Advocates come from and what are the Passion Projects you mentioned earlier?

Rodney Rambo: When we decided to develop the OTW category we felt it was important to further define the product and marketing story through the eyes of truly inspirational individuals. We call these individuals, Advocates and they are the best examples of what it means to be an independent creative. Mister Cartoon, Eric Elms, Dimitri Coste and The Blackouts are individuals that stand out in a crowd and truly beat to their own drummer.

Rodney Rambo:
Passion projects are campaigns that we have developed with each Advocate to further tell their stories. For example, we all know Cartoon is one of the most notable tattoo artists in the game today. But, what I wanted to show was the other side of Cartoon, his passion. Cartoons passion happens to be scrip and lettering. From this we developed the “Art of Lettering” book that’s been all over the Internet the last few weeks.

Rodney Rambo: Each Advocate will be taking there passion and inspiring through some sort of activation. Cartoons was the book. Elms will do a Zine. Dimitri’s was a race and look book and The Blackouts will have a compilation reggae album.

YS: All of those sound amazing. Does that involve all the collabo. shoes etc?

Rodney Rambo: Yeah, each of the Passion projects tie back to the footwear they design in the line.

Rodney Rambo: Each of these projects will be released globally over the next couple months.

YS: We will sure keep our eyes peeled for those.

Rodney Rambo: There passion projects have been pretty large undertakings... Its been a great experience.

YS: Were you in Jamaica with The Blackouts just recently? How was that like?

Rodney Rambo: We recently wrapped up The Blackouts project in Jamaica. It was a trip of a lifetime… We spent all our time in downtown Kingston and visited places like Nanny Ville and Trench town. We had the opportunity to meet several Marley family members and hang with the who’s who of today's reggae scene. This passion project will blow peoples minds.

YS: That's sounds amazing! Can't wait to see it!

Rodney Rambo: Jamaica is not a place to go without good Locals. VP records and Zagazaw took really good care of us. Local support!

YS: For sure!

Rodney Rambo: Man you've got me hyped on my Job today! It can be long 12 hour days and a ton of time away from the family but it sure is a dream job!!!

Rodney Rambo: I've had the opportunity to meet so many of my childhood hero's and work on projects with the best of the best.

YS: My pleasure! It's truly wonderful to do what you love! How does one get into an industry?

Rodney Rambo: I think the best way to get into this industry is by doing an internship. This will allow you the opportunity to actually see how fast pace and detail oriented things really are. As much fun as we have we work really hard and I must emphasize really hard! This job is not for everyone, it will pretty much consume your life. There are no such thing as weekends and your phone and computer have to be on 24/7.

YS: Thanks for that! Work hard, play hard.

Rodney Rambo: Hell yeah! That's the Vans way!

YS: It sure is! How has 2011 been for you so far? What have you been into personally?

Rodney Rambo: We work about a year in half in the future so I’m currently looking at Spring 2013 briefs. Working this far out makes time fly by. If I reflect on 2011 I think it’s been an amazing year. Launching OTW and developing the story has to be the highlight for me.

YS: Once again it's so nice to see the passion that goes into making OTW what it is and seeing the fruits of it must be truly rewarding. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this! It's been quite interesting and inspiring to take a peak behind the scenes!

Rodney Rambo: Absolutely, we have a great team that works on OTW. I appreciate you hitting me up. Have a good one brotha!

YS: You too man. Thanks! We will sure be checking back in in the future!

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