Thursday, December 10, 2009

Like watching Mossy Oak™ paint dry...

Caleb asked what could be done to make shooting sports shows more appealing to the general public.

Frank James had some suggestions:
I personally feel just about everyone of them is approaching the subject from the wrong direction. They are trying to tie in advertiser's products with their show's format. The result is BORING!! I mean most of them make educational films look exciting!


Anonymous said...

"They are trying to tie in advertiser's products with their show's format."

Well, they're run by gun marketing and magazine guys. It's the model they know.


OA said...

The hard sell of all those expensive products isn't exactly doing them any favors (especially in a recession) when it comes to bringing in new hunters, either. "You hafta have this to be a good hunter!" Uh, no, no I don't. Deer almost found themselves hunted to extinction by men wearing plaid, drinking chicory spiked coffee, pissing said beverage, and smoking unfiltered Chesterfields. You don't need to be some damned wannabe backwoods ninja to kill them.

Tam said...

That comment is made of win.

Wolfwood said...

Drat it all, my comment got lost (keep the applause to a tasteful minimum, please).

Basically, product placement is a better model than infomercials. After watching Mythbusters, I have a vague urge to own a Carcano. While I didn't buy my USPc because Jack Bauer uses one, seeing it on 24 did bring it to my attention (at the time I figured it was one of the scarier-looking guns out there and that this would be a good thing for self-defense; so sue me).

Good ads create a sense of something bigger and make the consumer want to affiliate themselves with it. Look at this ad for Johnnie Walker: after seeing it, I went out and bought my very first bottle of Scotch (JW Black Label...not a single regret!). You can even do this as a campaign: I already had my Tacoma before seeing this, but I have to confess a certain feeling of "Yes! I made the right choice and would like to make this right choice again in several years!"

OA said...

"Good ads create a sense of something bigger and make the consumer want to affiliate themselves with it."

Not all people need to boost their self-esteem with purchases. I've never wanted to buy a 300 Ultra Mag because some jackass said my .30-30 won't kill deer reliably as he flinched like hell walked in the door for breakfast when he touched off said Remington hotrod whilst at the bench. In fact, all I did was mumble "butch up, pussy" at his flinch.

The Armed Canadian said...

Make it entertaining and skillful. How about Summer Zombie Biathlon? People run through the woods and need to engage life-size zombies on motorized tracks and pop-up assemblys without them getting too close. Head shots need to be scored and players are evaluated on time and number of rounds.

Throw some obstacles in needing weapons to be secured (like fording a deep river), perhaps bring a "Shotgun Dash-for-Cash" as a bonus round in and I think you'd have plenty of viewers.

Wolfwood said...

"Not all people need to boost their self-esteem with purchases."

Who said anything about self-esteem? Sometimes just knowing there's a history to one of your possible choices allows you to enjoy it more.

And, quite simply, sometimes there really is a story that stands on its merits. Ten years ago, how about an episode all about Simo Hayha that ends with bringing him out and letting him put on a demonstration with whatever rifle you're trying to hawk and talking it up? How about a "What if?" episode where the Romans at the Teutoburger Wald had Bushmaster AR-15s and Glock 19s? Mini-episodes with folks like Summer Glau going shooting with Crimson Trace grips? In each case, you're connecting the product with a historical event or likable personality, providing entertainment, education, and advertisement all at the same time.

OA said...

"Who said anything about self-esteem?"

Your own words that I quoted.

Stranger said...

The last time I was at an outdoor show, the crowds were packed around the BASIC booths.

Yes, there were a few looking at high dollar shootin' arns, Swarovski scopes, and the like. Mostly in the "Y'n L would you want that?" calibers.

And there were a few potbellied papas enjoying the scenery at the booths staffed by the three handkerchief women who were either scandalously overdressed or scandalously undergarbed

But the people were paying attention to the folks who were actually showing affordable equipment - and talking about inexpensive public land hunting.

Exhibitors and booth staff should remember the KISS Principle. Keep It Simple, Stupid. Because your tip is not stupid, just under - informed. And ignorance is curable. Your job is to cure it.


jimbob86 said...

"ends with bringing him out and letting him put on a demonstration with whatever rifle you're trying to hawk and talking it up?"

Is nothing sacred? Mr. Haya did not accomplish what he did by using the newest SuperDooperMagnumGottahavvitt: He used issued weapons and his own skill, grit and courage.... but then again, the sales/marketing weasels have not figured out how to sell those things, because they can not be bought, but must be earned.

"How about a "What if?" episode where the Romans at the Teutoburger Wald had Bushmaster AR-15s and Glock 19s?"

.... As if "reality TV" was not bad enough: We need "un-reality TV"?!?!?

I fear for the future....

I agree with the KISS rule.

Here's an idea: take 5 people at random and take them to the range. Give them basic instruction, a choice of firearms and reactive targets at various ranges for cash and prizes.... ... and eliminate/kick off the the range those who do not IMPROVE over time.

Wolfwood said...

It occurs to me that you've got two different potential audiences to consider here: gun owners and the general public.

If you're just trying to get gun owners to watch your shows then all you really need to do is improve production values above the level of infomercials and fishing shows. I'll watch Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs, but How It's Made makes me want to weep inside.

If you're trying to get a general audience then you have to think outside the box. If paintball (where people shoot at each other) can't make it as a serious spectator sport, target shooting isn't going to, either. Your options are either to make a show where the gun is incidental ("Here's the story of Rorke's Drift; we're going to give you the history plus explain why the Martini-Henry was instrumental") or part of a special segment ("Here on Survivor: Knossos, we've set up a target range where contestants will use the new HK45 to earn an Immunity!").

I guess the question is whether you're trying to move a product or just get a some RKBA advocacy into your programming.

Anonymous said...

If they would televise more actually shooting sports, like three gun, IDPA, IPSC, what have you, and I'd bet more folks would watch.

It's not like people watch NASCAR to learn about cars or driving, but to watch the competition and cheer for people and for the crashes. I'd hope to avoid the crashes within the shooting sports, but that can be replaced with nifty exploding targets or what not.

Bread and circuses, it's not just for pushing a progressive agenda.

OA said...

I call a foul. "Thinking outside the box" was used but not "paradigm", "to continue moving forward", "reinventing the wheel", "synergy" or "organic". Especially "organic". Ideas now always "grow organically", along with protests and lettuce.

Feh. People offering up trite, beaten to death brainclouds that'll never water the garden. Turning shooting shows into the X-Games (what is this? 1995? How middle-aged and white are y'all?) or dress up event (the majority of the public sees any dress up player--cowboy, storm trooper, or any lard-assed Twilight fan--as a hyper geek gone plaid) isn't going to "grow" the sport. Tell a teen or twenty-something that some of those guns in the first person shooter they so dearly love actually do exist and you'd be happy to take them to the range to shot one. Yes, they're a bit like a puppy that doesn't know how to behave yet. In fact, they might piddle on their shoe, but they really are the future of the sport, not some damned teevee shows (at the very least take notice of the fact that most teen and twenty-something males don't even watch teevee anymore, but rather are on the internet. the internet has nekkid women and no sitcoms, dramas, and commercials that all portray men as having a 47 IQ).

Either that or a good depression will remind people of how useful guns are...

In conclusion, get off my damn lawn.

Caleb said...

It's worth noting that the most successful shooting sport of the 21st Century in fact one of the dress up sports. SASS has more members that IDPA and USPSA combined, which says something about people's desire to pretend that it's not 2009.

OA said...

Indeed. However, my point was the majority of the public thinks they're the exact same kind of loon that dresses up for sci-fi conventions and movie premieres. That says more about the health of the sport than anything. Well, that and how many people would like to get into hunting but haven't because they think it costs so much...

At this point probably the best thing to do would be to get together some instructors and have "Guns of...." (video games and movies) days at various ranges.

Nate said...

I don't watch many of the gun tv shows but do attend gun shows regularly. And like most, I find the toys, jewelry, glassware tables and their peddlars intrusive and obnoxious. It's a Gun Show dammit! I think the solution is for gun sellers to buy tables and toy, jewelry and glasware shows and set up their wares. That way those folks that want to see toys and such can get comfortable seeing guns where they normally might not.