CamelBak, one of the companies owned by publicly traded Vista Outdoor has issued a statement regarding the recent call to boycott its products.
As you may know, in the wake of the recent tragic shooting at a Florida school, there have been calls on social media for a boycott of CamelBak products because of its association with Vista Outdoor, a company that also owns separate businesses in the shooting sports industry. A major concern for the boycott centers around the incorrect assumption that the purchase of any of our products may support a cause that does not fit the mission/values of our brand. That is not the case. Our brand falls within the Outdoor Products segment of our company, which operates separately from Vista Outdoor’s Shooting Sports segment. Since 1989, CamelBak has been committed to forever changing the way people hydrate and perform. Our passion and love for the outdoors is unchanged. We are deeply committed to the individuals and communities we serve and we proudly partner with organizations to promote the enjoyment of the outdoors.
We recognize, support and respect the right of every individual to decide for themselves what brands they will purchase based on whatever criteria they believe are important. As we drive to make positive change, it is our hope that you stand by our nearly 30-year reputation as we maintain our promise to obsess on what we make, how we make it, and the way it impacts people’s lives and the environment.
What’s important to note here is how Vista Outdoor’s business divisions are siloed. I asked for and received clarification on this point. Profits from the Outdoor Products division are not mixed in with profits from Vista Outdoor’s Shooting Sports division. They remain separate. That means that no matter what happens to the revenue of the Outdoor Products division, the funding that goes into lobbying on behalf of the Shooting Sports division doesn’t come from brands like Giro, Bell, Blackburn and CamelBak. Everyone could stop buying all CamelBak packs tomorrow and it wouldn’t change what Vista Outdoor spends on lobbying for its Shooting Sports division.
Another point worth clarifying is that while it’s been claimed that Vista Outdoor supports the NRA to the tune of $500K/yr., that’s not accurate. In 2017, they spent a total of $514K on all lobbying. The vast majority of that did not go to the NRA. Further, in looking at some of the legislation they lobbied for, like better gun education and training, some of their positions are pretty easy to endorse.
To give you some scope of the independence with which each company is allowed to operate, consider that CamelBak is not a sponsor of Giro’s Grinduro—an event that CamelBak’s marketing team would like to support. If Vista Outdoor wanted to use each of their brands to reinforce the other, Kleen Kanteen and Fabric wouldn’t be sponsors of Grinduro.
The bottom line is simple: Anyone who chooses not to do business with the bike brands owned by Vista Outdoor will really only serve to hurt those brands and the retailers invested in them.
One final point regarding RKP’s position on this: CamelBak isn’t an advertiser, and has never been an advertiser and this effort is undertaken not to garner advertising, but simply because we care for the community that is the bike industry.