Ditch the minivan and remember what it felt like to have a functioning soul.
Mike walked into our agency with his head hung low. This is a guy who had poured his guts into a thriving BMX bicycle shop – built a brand around his own personal identity: Mike’s Bikes. Simple enough. He was moving tons of inventory, building custom rides for big names – rappers/musicians, and life couldn’t have been better. Until lawyers. Someone, somewhere also had the name Mike – can you believe it? And they ran a bike shop – shocking! So they lawyered up and told Mike to surrender it all – or else. That’s when we met Mike. That moment. Understandably, he was partially pissed, partially depressed, but mainly hopeless that he could rebuild from the rubble and start over with a new identity that his customer segment would LOVE. This was our favorite kind of project, by the way – finding a guy in the ditch and dragging him back onto the road. We loved being in his fight with him.
Our team also had a blast because our creatives got to tap into our 15-year-old ‘all jacked up on mountain dew’ selves and get to work. Mike’s unique builds transport his clients to the best days of their lives – back to the days of skid-stopping on dirt tracks, riding wheelies, and racing friends. We knew we had to keep that youthful spirit alive – so, that’s how FatlipUSA was born.
We held several strategy sessions, ordered a dozen vintage BMX magazines, pounded Nerds and Starburst and turned up some Twisted Sister. In time, we had a sample set of brand names that would hit the mark. These names had to be MEMORABLE, FUN w/an EDGE, and ping some NOSTALGIA – in that order. Guys who own minivans and buy life insurance need to tap into and remember why this life is fun and worth all the hassle. Mike isn’t selling insurance – he is selling fun and connection with others: with kids, with the guys on the cul-de-sac, with other men. The vintage and new-build market has exploded recently because men are remembering themselves.
Mike sells metal fun. He furnishes (mostly) men with self-powered vehicles to better, freer, and simpler days. They pedal themselves back to the moments they felt the best. IF you didn’t stick a landing, if you popped off to the wrong rider, if you stuck up for a friend – you’d probably drop your bike off in a garage and walk in with a FATLIP.
We tagged the USA onto it because a BMX brand that harkens back to ‘80’s vibes kinda needed a red, white, and blue pop to match the Red Dawn and Top Gun and Rocky IV vibe. We used to like repping our country back during the Cold War, remember?
We came up with a half dozen possible names that seemed to scratch some of these itches; we test-marketed them with dudes in that demographic cohort, and it came down to two main contenders. Mike picked FatlipUSA – because it matched his own story: he got punched in the face and came back swinging. His story is a comeback story – a don’t-count-em-out story. It’s America’s story – it’s part of how he builds community in downtown ride-outs. It’s how Mike lives life – a fatlip means you did something hard and have something to show for it. We’re so damn proud of Mike – and the community has swarmed him in support of the new name and look – they love his story. They love seeing him pedal harder. We do too.