HO HO HO! HAVE A BIG GLASS OF KOOL-AID, KIDS!

I am boiling! If you haven’t seen the self-serving, Sean Gleason-dictated “article” posted on his Facebook page, “written” by Joe Favorito (could the name be any more revealing?) under the banner of, “Sports Marketing & PR Roundup,” treat yourself to a big ol’ glass of Kool-Aid, kids, and get ready for a huge laugh. Or a rise in blood pressure.

I’m including a link to the press release, because I refuse to waste space posting the “article”: http://joefavorito.com/2015/12/23/no-bull-pbr-looks-to-get-brand-back-on-track/

I call it a press release because it is by no means an actual story any self-respecting journalist would write: it’s pure b.s. from the font of b.s. that is the PBR top brass, and the “writer” swallowed it whole. I wonder how much he was paid for this reprint?

Translation of this press release, for those who can’t read between the lines:

CBS is going to air “a brutally honest one-hour documentary taking an unvarnished look at the PBR…” Wow. A “documentary”? You mean, a carefully curated look at. (And yes, I know you’re not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition. Or start one with a conjunction, for that matter.)  When has the PBR EVER been brutally honest about ANYTHING? The only brutally honest moments I’ve seen are when Ben Jones issues a heartfelt “fuck!” after being bucked off–oops, the mic was on.

“Unvarnished look”?? It’s hard to see through the sparkly glaze they smear all over the lens when they talk about themselves, especially when that lens is focused on their favorite subject, J.B. Mauney. The PBR’s motto might as well be, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain…I am the great and powerful Oz!!”

First of all: Cowboys don’t try to “tame” bulls. They try to hold on for 8 seconds in good style, period.

“Getting back on track”?? The PBR is heading as far away from its roots as possible, with huge ticket prices, a complicated new scoring system introduced to keep one rider in particular from winning (and it’s not J.B. Mauney), “storylines,” over-the-top production values, bimbo models, celebrity worship, and crooked judges favoring one rider in particular. Guess who?

  1. “New audience” = They’ve been aiming at anyone they think enjoys violent “sports.” Fighting is not a sport; it’s fighting. Football is a bunch of guys trying to hurt the other bunch of guys fighting over a ball. I’m sure they’re aiming at the monster truck audience even as I write this. Meanwhile, they’re losing their old audience, whose money is just as green as anyone else’s.
  1. Digital/social = The PBR floods Twitter and Facebook with advance hype, trying to invent cowboy rivalries, and then as soon as an event is over, we’re flooded with “Remember when.” They pretend to read Twitter comments over the air during broadcasts, but only worshipful comments are allowed, especially if they’re about J.B. Mauney. (Notice how many times his name turns up in anything to do with the PBR?) They do the same on their website: anyone with an opinion other than the party line is censored and will never see their comment appear. And if the PBR doesn’t like something said in a tweet or on a blog, they will attack, by email, phone, Twitter, or blog comments. THAT I can verify from personal experience; I’ve got the email and Twitter strings to prove it. Plus there was that tongue-lashing from a previous PR honcho…
  1. “More storytelling” = more hype about J.B. Mauney. “Rode through pain”—as if a half dozen other guys weren’t doing the same thing, with worse injuries!

NOT ONE MENTION of the majority of the toughest riders in the world: Brazilians, several of whom have been World Champions in the past few years, including two triple-World Champions, the most recent of whom, many people feel, was robbed of a fourth Championship and another million dollars! Absolutely blatant racism.

Bonner Bolton?? How about a Rookie of the Year winner instead of an inconsistent newbie? Clearly the “heartthrob” monicker is aimed at young female fans, because of course they must all be Buckle Bunnies who spend their money just to ogle. You can bet that every year they will foist a new “heartthrob” on us, regardless of how he rides.

  1. “Expanded content plan” = fancy name for even more hype about J.B. Mauney—plus more nonstop yapping by anyone who thinks he’s a commentator, before, during, and after the show. (These events are now a “show,” not a competition, since the judges have lost all integrity through their efforts to rig outcomes.)
  1. A “young, engaged thrill-seeking audience” = people who don’t really know or care about the exact skills involved on either the part of the cowboys or the bulls; who come to events just to get drunk and see wrecks. (I’ve had plenty of beer sprayed on me by what the British call “lager louts.”) And the PBR is not above playing back wrecks over and over and over again to satisfy this sick bloodlust of the minority.

And BTW, the PBR’s approach completely ignores the huge numbers of bull riding enthusiasts who are middle aged and older—and who have most of the money to spend on it. I guess all of us may as well drop dead.

Even farther away from their tiny little minds is the fact that nearly HALF their audience is female. Feeble attempts at attracting women have included Tyson Chicken ads for Mom to make for the family, perfume to remind women about being the PBR’s idea of women, a “Sexiest Cowboy” competition, and a well-hidden Dallas newspaper poll along the same lines. The ads, perfume, and poll were miserable flops; the poll had four responses that I saw. The “Sexiest Cowboy” competition got some traction because of two factors: the winner would be on the cover of a romance novel, and one of the young guys staged an all-out campaign. He made the cover, and since has disappeared from the scene, because of bad behavior. Again, NOT ONE BRAZILIAN RIDER was put into the competition, even though Guilherme Marchi is Hollywood-handsome and made for movies. (I’m sure some men think so, too.)

The PBR is far from “understanding the consumer.” They don’t even understand their own audience. They just hand out a lot of Kool-Aid. And plenty of fools will drink up. I’m not thirsty.

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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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9 Responses to HO HO HO! HAVE A BIG GLASS OF KOOL-AID, KIDS!

  1. Scholl says:

    I’m a little confused. How is any of this shocking? Favoritism in bull riding? Well, welcome to the sport of rodeo…actually, scrap that…welcome to any professional sport where scoring is based on subjectively professional opinion. Everything you’ve stated in your rant is nothing new; favoritism, nationalist rivalries, over inflated marketing, etc. Did you recently become a fan, miss the last oh 40 odd years of rodeo? Heck, I think you are/have so I’ll help you out…follow the dotted line from the rca to bro to pbr to any other number of assoc today. As for your ‘blatant racism’ claim, seriously? You audaciously claim fair, balanced, objective reporting is not being performed yet you then fill a blog full of personal preferences, favoritisms’ and thin (if any at all) research or understanding (and some cases clearly just made up shyte) the sport and the progression/competition between rodeo associations and assoc vs participants. Mind blowing, your blog and very dismissive. In closing, I poise a rhetorical question since I will not revisit this site again…what flavor of kool aid are you partial to since clearly, you’re serving up some huge quantities yourself a’la Jim Jones style.

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    • The group of rodeo athletes who formerly were discriminated against wholesale were black men. That situation has improved for them, depending on the organization. At least nobody makes them enter a venue by the back door anymore. The current crop of athletes discriminated against is the Brazilian bull riders in the PBR; the discrimination shows in scoring, announcer comments, and media coverage. I have given umpteen clear incidents of this on my blog and on my Facebook page and Twitter, and I get a lot more agreement than disagreement. Nobody could imagine all that stuff. As for BRO, I can ask a founder I know how he saw it back then. I do know that he sees the anti-Brazilian sentiment happening now.
      There’s a different between liking an athlete and favoring him on the field. How long would it be before the NFL brass stepped in if they saw certain athletes constantly being penalized, and others getting away with murder? I think there’d be a pretty big uproar.
      There is no such thing as “subjectively professional.” Judging by rules is supposed to produce objectivity. Clocks and instant replays are supposed to help that. In the PBR, despite a clear replay, judges sometimes ignore rule violations, especially if they like the rider. Clocks are used as weapons–different clocks for different people. “The JB Clock” has been a running joke for years. In almost every event, it’s clear who the judges favor and who they hate. As the season heads into its final stretch, genuine outcomes are pretty rare. They have a result they want to achieve, and they have no scruples about forcing it. They allow personality to overshadow reality.
      PRCA and CBR events include riders of every color and don’t harp on nationalities or ethnicities. If you close your eyes and listen to their announcers, you would have no idea what color or from which country a rider is (other than Junior, the team roper, because they love telling the story about him arriving from Brazil with a suitcase and a rope).
      I’m allowed personal preferences; this is a BLOG, not an event. If I were a judge, I’d have to shelve those opinions and rely strictly on the rules; apparently most of the PBR judges are incapable of that.
      As I’m a journalist in “real life,” I know how to research, and I don’t make up things. The only “mind-blowing” thing about my blog is that I tell the truth. Otherwise why would my followers include riders, producers, and other people directly involved with bull riding and rodeo?
      And there’s no reason to be insulting just because you disagree.

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  2. That “documentary” could have been made into a drinking game: every time they said the name JB, take a shot. I’d have been drunk in the first 5 minutes (although in my party days it may have taken a half-hour)… Others have tried to say the PBR hyped Justin McBride and Chris Shivers as much as they do JB, but I have followed it from the mid-90s, and it was never this blatant. It saddens me that the PBR’s own Twitter account had a “hash tag” on it awhile back that said “AlvesWillNeverWinAnotherTitle” but the JB fans claim no bias. The Brazilians have been my favorites, with a few exceptions (Troy Dunn) since I was flipping through channels in ’94 and saw a young, handsome Latino cowboy–some guy named Adriano–smiling and speaking broken English in an interview on The Nashville Network….. I knew nothing about the sport other than what I’d heard from the animal rights groups, and was pleasantly surprised; I quickly progressed from having the PBR on in the background while getting ready to go out with friends to not leaving the house until it was over. Now, I will watch it if I am home and awake online but don’t pay for cable/satellite to have CBS Sports Network, and I didn’t attend any events last year–not even here in Kansas City.

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  3. No longer a fan says:

    The whole article from the PBR was disgusting! Not a fan how the company plans to take this “new PBR brand”. Obviously China did not pan out.

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  4. kelly adams says:

    Right on!! Just when I think it can’t get any worse. Saw on PBR that there would be a program dedicated to “injured jb” winning a championship. First, where was his injury that many didn’t have and when did he really “win”?

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    • I can see that you didn’t drink the Kool-Aid! PBR is going all out to make everyone forget the Brazilian riders exist, and to make JB’s name synonymous with bull riding, the equation being: JB = American = bull riding = American. They don’t really want it to be an international sport, but honestly– how many viewers would they lose if the Brazilians weren’t riding? MILLIONS. I know I sure wouldn’t spend a dime on an event with no riders from Brazil. The other side of the shove-JB-down-our-throats campaign is the harass-the-Brazilians-till-they-leave-or-retire side. I’m almost afraid to go to the Madison Square Garden event, in case they throw it to JB.

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