PBR MARKETING SURVEY: Get ready to ROTFL

PBR continues to amuse with their latest attempt to have a clue.

They posted on their Facebook page an “opportunity” to join a small private online community for 30 days to discuss the future of the PBR: sponsors, live events, marketing, and more. A couple of people who shall remain nameless filled out the questionnaire posted, and were approved to be included. (I was not involved.) The discussion group ran for the month of March; people were required to spend at least 20 minutes a week reading and discussing issues. (You wouldn’t believe how much the PBR thinks you should do in 20 minutes). Participants also were required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement stating that anything they posted or created belongs to the PBR. Here are some of the highlights of the marketing “survey.”

Unnamed Person:
“I got invited to join some PBR feedback forum. I had to sign some totally non-enforceable NDA, but I’m sure as hell not putting any artwork on there, since they’re trying to say all postings and creative works put there belong to them. But, it should be worth a laugh.”

Feedback Forum? Hmpfh. PBR finally realized they’ve been getting free market research from fans for  years, so they don’t have to pay a market research firm +$100 a head to hear it from survey participants. (Oops, they already did. My head.) Now they’ll collect more free info, all organized in one spot—and they can say they’re listening to the fans. (The ones they handpicked. How very PBR of them!) Of course, they already have a website where theoretically anyone can post comments—if the moderator likes them.

Confidentiality agreement?? Like everyone would take notes and run to the PRCA and CBR to report on the PBR marketing strategy? Or (heavens to Betsy!) feed info to the Stockyard Queen and me so we can make fun of it?

Unnamed Person:
“I don’t know why I got in except I said on my survey that I’ve gone to live events, rock concerts and live in a suburban area. After signing their ridonkulous NDA where I had to promise to be nice, so far it’s a bunch of leading questions posed by the moderators:

  • Who do you think are celebrities in the PBR? (Who could they possibly want us to say?)
  • What do you enjoy most about Flint’s performance? (Gag.) Thankfully, a few people in there already have suggested that Flint needs new material.
    I hope they ask about the Stud of the Night, because I have a lot to say on that one.”

Yeah, so do I. That Stanley Stud Finder commercial is totally misleading: you think you’re gonna get Douglas Duncan, and instead the dumb thing always picks the dorkiest, worst dancer in the audience. :)

Other Unnamed Person:
“There is very little conversation between anyone on this blog, including the moderators. It’s not really a blog. It’s a more of a Q & A thing. You can’t respond directly to someone’s post. All you can do is add another post under the topic question. As a result, the only way you know if someone responds to something you write is to read through all of the posts. It takes a lot of time and I don’t think anyone bothers to do it. It’s a shame. I think there are some really interesting people involved in this. There are also some token PBR fans who think the PBR can do no wrong. There are quite a few “PBR Herdies.” I still think this is being done by an outside marketing firm. The moderators just go through all of the posts every day and “like” them. They don’t respond in any meaningful way. It’s all kind of lame…very PBRish.”

Unnamed Person:
“I want to know who’s reading our responses. I wonder if it’s a marketing company compiling the information and presenting it to the PBR, or if PBR folks are actually reading some of the comments. From the looks of it, the moderators are in Chicago. I’m waiting for them to start asking questions about the events,  fan club, etc. Then I’ll be able to speak my mind. So far they have been fluff questions.”

Unnamed Person:
“I have to wait until I’m home to give this the time it “deserves,” but at least there do seem to be some reasonable people in there. The PBR seem to really want to push musical acts or attempt to get musical acts (presumably country), so they probably won’t like most of what I have to say, but oh well, they can block me if they want. They gave us “Women of the PBR” and Tyson foods, what more could we want?! There’s just no understanding females, those strange creatures who want to be treated like people.”

Here are some of the questions from the PBR private blog:

  • Who among the PBR competitors would you say is a celebrity?

Who would I say? That would not be the answer they want, which is: JB. Do they not think we’ve got the point by now?

  • What gives a celebrity status?

A cool theme song—plus a big PR effort behind him to make him a celebrity.

  • How does the celebrity aspect of the PBR impact your experience watching it?

It makes me want to run screaming from the room. (Actually, I have run screaming from the room.) There are other riders who could be celebrities with the same push behind them. Ben Jones could be a celebrity (but he’d have to get teeth). Marchi could be a celebrity (but he’s Brazilian). Jody Markiss was on his way, but– and this is straight from another rider’s mouth—not if he rides in any more CBR events, because the PBR is pissed. Backflippin’ Renato could be a celebrity (but he has the same problem as Guilherme). Valdiron could be a celebrity (but he’d have to bleach his skin to appease the haters). Gee, I guess there’s no one who could be as good a celebrity as JB Mauney.

Other Unnamed Person:
“I’m trying to answer the celebrity question and having a hard time keeping it diplomatic and non-judgmental. PBR promotes a few riders as celebrities; sometimes because of their riding, sometimes because of their personalities. These guys keep the sport exciting, but my interest in PBR events has dropped because of this celebrity obsession. The top riders deserve to be recognized, but there’s too much publicity about one rider. A lot of fans are tired of all the hype. PBR should focus its attention on the riders more equally.
I didn’t mention names but it’s obvious who I meant. Most of the other people named a few people they liked to call celebrities, but a lot said they felt that the top 35 riders (not just one or two) should be considered celebrities. One guy said it was a time bomb to put all the focus on one guy in a sport where people get injured and have to stop riding for long stretches. Most said they wanted more even coverage of the riders.”

Unnamed Person:
“People in there are mostly saying J.B. is the celeb, but there’s a fair amount tagging Guilherme, Silvano and Mike Lee. And someone sensible saying none of them are really celebs outside the PBR world, but anyone who makes it to that level deserves recognition within the PBR fandom. There are guys with more name recognition, but since guys get hurt and career spans are relatively short, there’s only so much celebrity to be achieved, unless you’re Ty Murray or Adriano Moraes. Setting up celebrities is a bad idea, since careers are short and a guy can get sidelined in an instant. But, seeing the hundreds of gushing comments about J.B. on Facebook on every article about him, I’m not sure they’ll listen to me.”

The next questions:

  • How would you describe the sport of bull riding to someone who has never heard of it?
  • What is it that you like about the PBR?
  • How knowledgeable do you feel you are about the PBR compared to other fans you know?
  • What social media outlets do you use to follow the PBR and related topics?

Other Unnamed Person:
“There are a few people that have made some good points. So far I think all the comments have been pretty pro-PBR. I am the only one to come out and say that I don’t like something. Maybe that will change as the questions change. I think sometimes people feel like they need to say what the PBR wants them to say.”

Unnamed Person:
“Oh, dear God. Now they want us to make a collage or video that we feel represents “cowboy culture.” So, this supposed 20-minute-per-week commitment now includes responding in 3-5 sentences or more to each of their 8 questions, and making a collage? Because I am sure as hell not making a video. Although I guess I could film a rant about certain cowboys making dumbass comments about women and get kicked off and be done with it. They even sent me an email to say they’d updated the question, so if I’d already answered it, please look again and add to my response. I kind of just want to take a video of my cat in the litter box or my dog taking a dump. I’m just not even going to answer the question. If they want to kick me off, they can, but I do not have the time or the inclination to make a damned collage. We don’t want no stinkin’ collage!”

Other Unnamed Person:
“We even had homework. We had to create a collage that represented the Cowboy Culture. I did it but have no idea how to post it on the blog. Only one person has successfully posted it so I’m not alone. I think only two or three people posted the damn collages in the end.”

Other Unnamed Person:
“I’m waiting for the PBR to start asking about the fan club, the fees required to be able to read any personal information about the riders, etc. Why would you pay to get information on someone you don’t know? That’s back-asswards. I’ve tried getting information on riders on the PBR website…ridiculous. All you get are random riding stats which often times aren’t even current. A lot of the bull riders have Facebook pages or websites but they either don’t keep them up or often times they don’t have anything to do with them (JB Mauney, for example). I often look at the PBR wives’ Facebook pages. They usually post family pictures and updates.”

More questions:
• In your opinion, which network would make the best home for PBR?
• What is your opinion of ABC’s sports programming?
• What is your opinion of CMT?
• What is your opinion of FOX’s sports programming?
• What is your opinion of CBS’s sports programming?
• What network do you usually watch PBR on?

Other Unnamed Person:
“I really don’t care what network carries PBR. The things I’m not liking about the PBR have nothing to do with the television station. I wouldn’t pay extra for a channel just so I could watch PBR. I’m sitting here watching the NFR from this past year! I taped it but never had a chance to watch it. I LOVE the commentators! Joe Beaver is my favorite. I’ll follow whichever organization they are commentating on next year.”

Then keep your eye on the PRCA!

Unnamed Person:
“This week seems to be questions about sports programming on various channels, which I can’t really speak to; other than the odd ice skating or gymnastics or Super Bowl, or the college basketball that ends up in my PBR slot, I don’t watch other slots. But they didn’t can me for not making a collage, so there is that!”

And now the sponsor questions:

  • What luxury brands do you like? This can be for any item.
  • What of the brands that you like would you be surprised to see associated with the PBR?
  • Name some brands that you are especially loyal to. This could be any kind of brand such as clothing, liquor, hotel, jewelry.
  • What of the brands that you like would you be surprised to see associated with the PBR?

Items/brands I like? Single malt Scotch, Dom Perignon Champagne, Bose speakers, Godiva chocolate, old Corvettes (Sting Ray), Virgin Atlantic, Apple computers, Fender Stratocaster, Nordstrom Department Store, Angel perfume, Opium perfume… Let’s see how many of those become PBR sponsors.

  • How would you describe the typical PBR fan?

The fact that PBR is asking this question shows how clueless they still are. THERE IS NO TYPICAL PBR FAN! That’s the whole reason they’re still fishing around for a marketing strategy. Let’s see if the marketing geniuses can comprehend this:
Half the fans are female, half are male—right there, you have to lose the “typical.”
PBR events in Colorado are packed; NYC is pretty full. What do those ticketholders have in common? Maybe just an interest in bull riding.
Even if you think all the men wear cowboy hats and drive pickup trucks, you still have to figure out the female fans.

The Tyson chicken thing, PBR perfume (are you kidding me? What were they thinking??), energy drink bimbos, riders’ wives interviews, and a guest appearance by Martha fucking Stewart show that they just don’t get it. They still think women’s primary interests are food and homemaking. Newsflash: Half the U.S. labor force is now female, as in, working outside the home. Think about advertising to this market. And no, fast food doesn’t cut it.  Thinking that after a day at work, a woman doesn’t have a lot of time to cook, so instead of having her pick up a bucket of Kentucky Fried, let’s convince her to pick up a bucket of Tyson’s? Uh, here’s an original thought: men can cook, too. People can share this chore. They don’t have to resort to junky food.

I don’t know why this escapes the PBR, but there’s an easy way to see who the fans are: Walk around the seats in all different sections of the arena and use a freakin’ camera!

  • What brands do they wear?
  • What restaurants do they eat at? (Great grammar)
  • What car do they drive?
  • What music do they listen to? (ditto)
  • What do they spend money on at a PBR event?

Some of them wear Brooks Brothers, some of them wear Wranglers. Some of them eat at McDonald’s, some of them eat in restaurants that have tablecloths and silver service. What car do they drive? Can PBR not conceive of a place where people don’t need cars? Most people who live in NYC (and other major cities) use public transportation. I didn’t need a car for 23 years.
Music? I’ll bet they think all bull riding fans love country music. Wrong. A lot of them love rock.
What do they spend on at events? Overpriced, unhealthy food (there’s no choice). What they spend the most on is overpriced tickets.

  • Imagine that you are going to a live PBR event. What brands are you wearing?
  • What restaurant do you eat in before or after the event?
  • What car do you drive to the event?
  • What are you listening to in the car?
  • What do you spend money on at the event?

I don’t have to imagine. I’ve done it a number of times. I don’t dress according to brands—who thinks like that? “I’ll wear my Wrangler jeans, my Ariat boots, my PBR perfume, my Country Outfitter shirt…” I dress according to what’s clean, fits right, is comfortable, and looks snazzy. I couldn’t care less what the label says. I don’t even remember what I wore the last time.
Restaurant? Once it was some cheap place where we ran into Flint and his family. Once it was a place that looked like a diner but had good wine and fancy desserts. Once it was an expensive, well-known steakhouse (I am not talking Outback). Other people ate the steak.
Once again, THERE IS NO TYPICAL.
If I were listening to music in a car, I’d listen to the same music that’s on my iPod for when I ride trains and subways: Delbert McClinton, John Fogerty, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, James Brown, Etta Britt— I have eclectic taste.
I try not to spend money at events unless I’m starving. $4 a pretzel and $3 a bottle of water is ridiculous. The tickets cost enough.

Unnamed Person:
“Our last week of the PBR survey, they asked us to take pictures of our closets, pantries and fridges. I didn’t do that. They actually wanted us to display some of our “favorite items” in our closets.”

LMAO! Is PBR so clueless that they think they can figure out “the typical PBR fan” by what’s in the fridge? If they don’t see beer and beef, will they be confused?

My closet would really screw up the survey: Sparkly shoes, Japanese flight jacket with embroidered tiger and dragon, foofy red snake and black cowgirl boots that no self-respecting real cowgirl would ever wear (at least, not near a cow pasture), feather boas (yes, plural), Rhinestone Renegades tee shirt, Louisville slugger, denim jacket, ankle-length black cape, zebra jacket, Mae West hat, Grandma’s satin evening gloves (in 6 colors)… need I go on? The PBR boys would think I was a drag queen.

It’ll be PFF seeing what cockamamie marketing strategy the PBR comes up with after this survey.

About Bull Riding Marketing

Creative services, marketing and public relations professional from entertainment industry background. Published in magazines and newspapers worldwide. I believe bull riders are the new rock stars.
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8 Responses to PBR MARKETING SURVEY: Get ready to ROTFL

  1. Anita G says:

    I’m glad I stumbled across this blog. I used to love the PBR so much, I actually flew to Vegas to watch the championships 3 years in a row! But they started losing me as a fan when they dropped from Versus and I had to guess each week where I could watch the coverage. Now that you have to pay to watch it online most weekends, I couldn’t even tell you who’s in first place. I would imagine most fans feel the same way. I can’t believe they can’t find a cable station to work out a fair agreement with, so the fans can re-engage. It’s pretty sad. FYI, I’m also one of those female fans that they have no idea how to deal with :)

    • You are officially a BullSister! PBR has lost a lot of fans because of their crazy patchwork broadcast schedule, the fact that so many events require you to buy a membership to view them online, the way the judges treat the Brazilian riders, AND the way the organization treats women. I can’t believe I won’t get to see JB go up against Bushwacker again, unless I pay for a membership. You’d think that for a marquee event like that, they’d find a way to put it on the air.

      If you go through my posts, you’ll see lots of complaints about PBR being clueless about female fans, even when we TELL them all about us. They’ve done market surveys since 2010 that show we’re half their audience, and what we want to see or not see, but the ways they came up with to appeal to us are: selling a perfume in a pink bottle, called “Tenacious,” selling pink tee shirts, and running a series of interviews on their website called “Wives of the PBR,” in which a rider’s Missus talks about how wonderful the PBR is.

      BTW, you might enjoy another blog by a woman: Turn Him Out! by Stockyard Queen.

      Just in case you haven’t checked: Guiherme Marchi is #1, Fabiano Vieira #2, Joao Ricardo Vieira #3, Silvano Alves #4.

      Welcome to my blog!

  2. Jinx says:

    STUPID IS , AS STUPID DOES !

  3. Lee says:

    This marketing survey is just weird. Do you think that they’ve taken notice of the drop in attendance? I see a lot of empty seats on the television broadcast regardless of whether it’s a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon event being televised.

    • I don’t see how they can’t notice. The cameras try to avoid the empty seats, and Craig always says the event’s sold out (so do their press releases), but money talks, and they know when their bottom line is sagging. I once went to a Touring Pro Sunday afternoon Championship Round, and literally half the seats in the arena were empty, but the outfit who produced the event (a stock contractor or ranch) said on its website that the event was sold out!

  4. A tired fan says:

    Great article. I was not asked to do the survey. I did one before but got rejected. I am so angry about yesterday. PBR was pre-empted by college baseball (Creighton and Seton Hall). The station kept saying stay tuned we will show the PBR in its entirety. Guess what…the ball game went over an hour longer, the PBR came on and it was a joke. They did not show it in its entirety. They only showed “clips” of rides. The PBR must have cut a deal with CBSSN to always be pre-empted by the other show and they would take the hit and cut the PBR show short. The Last Cowboy Standing is getting less coverage this semester than last. The final day will be shown on Sunday, the day after the event is over. Horrible!!

    • Thanks! I don’t look at the PBR Facebook page that often, so I didn’t even know about the survey, but I would’ve been rejected anyway. They can smell me a mile away. A few years ago they asked me to be in a marketing survey in NYC, which I did. Out of a dozen people, 10 were women, we kept telling them why we liked bull riding, and the dumb PBR still can’t figure out how to deal with women.

      Yesterday was a new low in PBR broadcast history. The stupid game went on and on; by the time bull riding came on, all the results were already on Twitter. I can’t believe Last Cowboy Standing is going to be shown after the event. Have they learned nothing?? No wonder the survey was asking about other sports channels.

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