Burton Snowboards – Case Study

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In 1994, the market dominating Burton Snowboards Company realized that they had a major problem with ‘gray market’. They had strict guidelines in place for all products to go through their Japanese division. Due to a combination of high import tariffs and market structure (lower cost boards available in the USA) , a number of enterprising US agents began to circumvent the supply chain.

Burton realized that they needed to differentiate the Japanese boards (which were in all respects the same as the American product) to be able to ‘pull’ product from shelves in Japan or close distribution points if non-Japanese product was found.

Burton contracted AuthentiBrand Inc. to produce one of the world’s first commercial computer generated holograms and hand applied labels one to each of over 40,000 boards. The hologram, coupled with active and diligent monitoring of the Japanese distributorships, virtually eliminated the problem within one season!

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The initial image created was an 11 level 2D3D hologram, one of the world’s first mass production fully computer generated images. The program met with great success and in succeeding years, Burton continued the contract from AuthentiBrand Inc. for the creation of new and unique holograms for their Japanese boards. In order to stay ahead of the possible counterfeiters, and moreover to continue the ‘cool factor’, AuthentiBrand Inc. pushed the state of the art for origination techniques, creating truly deep image pseudo true color embossed holograms with many special effects including ‘lens readable covert imagery’.

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By the 3rd year, the hologram became synonymous with quality and innovation, and Burton Japan ordered large versions of the images to be used on the doors and windows of all authorized Burton Japan distributors. In the late 1990s as Dupont’s hologram division (then Krystal Holographics International) become truly commercially viable, AuthentiBrand Inc. shifted the Burton images from embossed to photopolymer. Each year the image was changed as well as the shape, sometimes opaque and sometimes clear.

Due to the successes in Japan, Burton US began toying with the product, using small photopolymer holograms on bindings and promotional products. The product really hit well in the market and in the year 2000 work began on embedding a hologram into the board. After more than 18 months of trials testing scores of product variants, Burton decided they were ready and launched the first ever 4” round photopolymer hologram embedded into a snowboard!

Through a monumental effort of the Burton production departments, JDK Design team, AuthentiBrand Inc., and Dupont’s Salt Lake lab, the cream of the crop 2003 Burton Custom Board is a powerful product on sale now in stores across the USA!