By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff
The busiest young manufacturer in disc golf just got busier.
After a week-long social media campaign sprinkled with teaser photos and vague hints, MVP Disc Sports on Friday announced the formation of a new, separate brand called Axiom Discs.
So how does this new venture differ from the typical MVP output?
Axiom Discs will feature a variety of overmold and core color combinations, as well as new molds that differ in flight and profile from MVP’s existing lineup.
While the new color combinations are a nod to the first discs the company created, MVP Disc Sports co-founder Brad Richardson said the inspiration for creating this offshoot came from the company’s line of glow plastic.
“We attribute the exotic look of our Eclipse discs to be an initiating factor,” Richardson said. “Most of our Eclipse sales are people looking for the vibrant colors that result from the brighter overmold. However, the expensive glowing agents add a lot to the cost of the Eclipse Series, so we decided to branch out from the traditional black rim to make those vivid colors available at a comparable cost to the standard Neutron and Proton series.”
The improvements and upgrades MVP has made over time to its molding process also contributed to the new look.
“The technological developments required for drivers just so happened to make vibrant colored rims possible,” said Zachary Kelbaugh, creative consultant for MVP Disc Sports and Axiom Discs. “That look is so distinct, but it doesn’t suit MVP’s stark look and branding. But as the foundation for a new brand, it’s perfect.”
Richardson agreed that separating the two styles was important to maintain brand integrity.
“The traditional black rim in the MVP lineup holds a strong aura with the theme of science and technology that create a consistent appearance,” he said. “We felt that adding colored overmolds to the MVP lineup was too drastic of a change that didn’t fit the MVP theme. Hence, we partnered with Axiom Discs to form a brand that was more suitable to the idea of added style from colored rims.”
The new union is one that Richardson compared to that of Latitude 64 and Dynamic Discs’ joint venture, with the exception of it being on a local level.
“The uniqueness of our partnership is that the teams work in one roof internally,” Richardson said. “There’s a lot of family and close friends getting involved with a lot of the branding aspects designated with Axiom.”
Richardson said that he and his brother Chad will still be “heavily involved” with the design process on Axiom’s molds. Initial offerings under the fledgling label include the Envy, an overstable putter, and the Alias, a stable midrange.
“Some molds will be designed to be unique from the other brand, but some molds will also hold similar traits to other MVP molds,” Richardson said. ”The Envy is an example of a mold that is unique from the MVP lineup because it is lower profile and has a more traditional feel (no rounded inner rim).”
This concept of separate brand entities is not foreign to traditional businesses, but it is something relatively new to disc golf.
Justin Anderson, owner of CommunityDiscs.com, said he was caught off-guard by the news.
“The Axiom announcement was a complete surprise, but I was happy MVP sent that to retailers at the same time as they seemed to announce it on Facebook and where ever else,” Anderson said. “MVP has been getting better about this. I have complained many times about the retailer emails being the last place they share product information.”
Anderson said retailers would treat Axiom as a separate brand, and hypothesized that the offshoot could be an effort by MVP to garner more shelf space.
“If MVP thinks their discs sell very well in most of their resellers’ shops and that those shops would all make space for an MVP sub-brand, then it’s smart to split off with Axiom,” he said. “If all the shops add Axiom, then they might drop other small companies or simply not add a new-to-the-retailer company. Basically, retail is all about fighting for shelf space and if you, as a manufacturer, can flood the market — and the shelves — then you will sell more.”
However, Anderson mentioned that online retailers may face some challenges regarding the organization of the color options the discs present.
“Web stores are going to have to decide if they will list the overmold color of the discs as a new option, or just continue listing the core color only,” he said. “The Innova Atlas and Nova started this struggle. I’ve seen web stores with an explanation or key for what their listings mean, and I really hate that, but it is hard to come up with a scheme which customers can glance at and understand without an explanation or instructions without making each option pretty lengthy, like ‘170 gram white core and red overmold.’”
One aspect of the branding that Anderson does appreciate, though, is that Axiom’s translucent and opaque plastics, Proton and Neutron, will retain the same monikers across the multi-brand platform.
“I love that Axiom’s plastic names will be the same as MVP’s,” he said. “I wish Latitude and Innova’s sub-brands would do the same thing. Personally, I would like to see all companies use the same generic plastic names like Base, Base-Grip, Premium, Premium-Grip, etc.”
At press time, there is no firm release date for the Envy or Alias, but Richardson said to expect them soon.
“It’s going to be pretty quick,” he said. “We’ve already been running production for a few weeks. There is a chance that we may have them out this month, though it’s not confirmed until we feel we have produced enough stock to handle the demand.”
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Steve Hill is the associate editor for Rattling Chains. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @OneMileMore.