Before ever even seeing an advertisement for Zoo York I owned probably a dozen or more t-shirts. Not to mention shoes, and hats, and hoodies, and backpacks. I was a walking advertisement for these people. The designs jumped off of everything and into my brain. The lettering reminded me of graffiti, and that’s what they are based off. That’s who they were catering to, representing the alternative lifestyle that came with skateboarding and tagging (graffiti).
Their slogan is “True East” and being from the east coast that also spoke to me. Zoo York is a skate company and while I myself don’t skateboard, I was very into bmxing. Bmxing and graffiti were two of my favorite past times as a teenager in a small town wishing I could go to the city, where all the action was. New York was the closest real city and anytime I went to visit I wore one of my Zoo York shirts. I love the attitude and image of being from the east coast. Fast paced, take no bullshit, the accent, no matter where you go in the country when someone hears that east coast accent they know it.
The cockroaches and their accents, cursing out people, reminds me so much of growing up in New Jersey. Talking to each other in our Sopranos sounding accents, insulting each other, and each others mothers. Although since moving my accent has almost completely diminished, when ever I see one of these commercials it comes back for a day or two, or when I run into my brother and we get to talking, fuggetaboutit. These advertisements felt as though they were speaking to me directly.
That’s where I wanted to be, amongst the masses. I even tried my hand at skateboarding just to try to fit the image of myself I was portraying. Even now working on this post I want to grab my hoodie, my bandana, my bike, and a can of spray paint and go out and leave my mark all over town.
I also have a deep love for old school hip-hop. I would always have it blasting out of my headphones as I hopped on my bike and rode it eight or nine miles to the skate park. All of these things reminded me of where I wasn’t and where I wish I was, but when I see one of the Zoo York logos I feel as though I could be there.