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?
- “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.
- 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…
- “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.
- “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.)
- 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.