My favorite part of this 1998 Volcom ad is the reprinted fax from Surfer Magazine hounding the Volcom team for some overdue collateral. Rebelliousness definitely was a successful marketing strategy for Volcom, but I get the sense that there was a definite pirate vibe from the clothing label’s formative years.
At first, I hated these Volcom ads, with their hand drawn graphics and jarring, even messy, collage style. They were so different from everything else you’d find in a Surfer Magazine. I’m not sure what eventually brought me around, but as I’ve said many times before, I think Volcom’s run in the 90s and 2000s is up there with any surf label.
In Bruce Irons, Volcom found the ideal embodiment of its ethos — a fearless, awe-inspiring surfer with a genuine distaste for authority. It didn’t last forever, but Bruce Irons’ run with Volcom was a truly inspired partnership between a clothing company and team rider that went beyond simply selling board shorts (though it was effective for that, too).