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The draft of this post had been sitting in this wordpress account for roughly four years. Reading of ESPN’s unprecedented loss of 600K subscribers in November 2016 as well as the NFL ratings drop, I was reminded of the lessons that were unlearned by the Plain Dealer. So here’s that germ of a topic that never became a full-on post.
It’s sad to see people lose their jobs. It sad when an icon of my home town is diminished. But it’s worth remembering that a means to mitigate this problem was known as early as six plus years ago.
Linked above is a Regina Brett column with the results of her question: what do you want in the Plain Dealer?
You spoke so loudly I can’t hear out of my right ear. More than 500 readers have responded so far. The most common complaint? The paper leans left.
That ear-bending was received by the PD in 2006. Did anything change at the PD?
I don’t subscribe to the PD and I don’t know their day-to-day coverage. I do know that prior to that article the Editorial Board wanted to endorse John Kerry (and was overruled by the publisher resulting in a peculiar, no endorsement in 2004). In 2008 and 2012 the paper endorsed Obama. That’s all I’ve got to go on but if a paper endorsed Obama in 2012, it’s lefty.
The problem with this lies in the resulting business model. People tend not to pay to be alienated.
I stopped there because … because I was a sports blog and much of my readership would have been alienated by following this through to its logical conclusion. The conclusion being: Republicans buy newspapers too. Stop telling your customers that they suck and need to change.
It’s a lesson that ESPN could stand to learn.
The NFL’s problem is more nuanced in that they’re not outright telling me I suck, but with the never-ending marketing geared toward ’emerging demographics’ and women (i.e., not me) it’s clear that I don’t matter. Breast cancer ‘awareness’ month and video-game uniforms may get you a bump among feminists and fedora-wearers but for those of us who just like football, it doesn’t go unnoticed that we’re low in your prioritization hierarchy.
I’ll wrap this up with another case study.
The education of Bud Light
Bud Light learned this lesson the hard way with it’s recent sacking of the gross Seth Rogen/Amy Schumer ad campaign. Turns out Bud Light had a mid-single-digit volume decrease in volume since it began. Speaking for guys like me who comprise the vast majority of your purchasing — albeit not target — market: why the hell would I buy beer from people who literally hate me? Oh that’s right: I’m a 50 year old white guy and I’ll be dead soon. Thanks for reminding me Bud Light, message received. Good luck selling your rice-syrup based, enzyme-laden lager to dudes who put oranges in their beer.
Anyway, good to see that your bi-coastal ad agencies have gotten pulse on the market and are all about honchoing a campaign to go after that half of America that seems to be ready to MAGA.
Another satisfied customer explains why she’s all in for Cheddar Bay.
If you didn’t care to plow through the back and forth in the comments of the last post, here is a summary and the essence of the exchange between Frowns and me yesterday.
I’d have to buy an upgraded GoAnimate account for our convo to be greater than 180 characters a slice and to have different characters. But I think it works as is.
We’re dealing with several issues concerning this year’s Masters but let me pick off two. One is the seeming arbitrary and capricious rules of golf and why they are worthy of respect. The second deals with the importance of honor in the context of golf; indeed, how it is the single most important aspect of the entire game.
Let’s take the rules first.
Item: 14-year-old golfer assessed penalty for slow play; a nation mourns.
There was a nice story when 14-year-old Chinese golfer Guan Tianlang played well and made the cut. But twitter blew up when he was assessed a penalty for slow play on Friday. National media types and basic twitter buddies were falling over themselves to express their own dryly ironic views on slow play in golf.
It turns out Guan’s group was out of position on 10, timed on 11, warned on 12, and then docked the stroke on 17.
Even yesterday there was this:
On the 14th hole, for example, he tossed some grass in the air twice to test the wind, grabbed a club and took a few practice swings before changing his mind. He grabbed another club and took a couple more practice swings before finally hitting his shot. Afterward, a rules official told him he was 6 minutes over on that hole alone, and he needed to speed it up.
I’ve yet to see any twitter retractions and nor do I. But the episode is instructive on the knee-jerk expressions of outrage at the easy target that is Augusta National or the Rules of Golf in general.
Item: 17-time major championship winner does not understand the drop rules for water hazard.
Here’s the Tiger Woods kerfuffle really quickly in case you missed it. Tiger has an 80 yard approach shot over water to the 15th on Friday. The shot came in hot, hit high off the flagstick, and caromed into the water hazard. Tiger surveys the drop area, walks back to his spot, adds to two yards to his spot (so even Tiger knew the first shot was going long), and hits his shot.
[Observation: I think his first shot was very likely to fly the green and had enough juice to reach the pond BEHIND fifteen. It was not, repeat, WAS NOT, the perfect shot that has been widely reported.]
This is a penalty. It matters not whether he intended to commit a penalty.
The Augusta Rules Committee convenes and gives him a pass. I find it hard to believe that the inevitable public outfall for docking Tiger two shots at the end of the round didn’t enter into their calculus and they just said, ‘It’s not worth it. Give him a pass.’
Lo and behold Tiger told the world that he deliberately did not drop where he was supposed to and at that point, Augusta had to dock him the shots. A new rule allowed Augusta to do this without DQ-ing him for signing the wrong scorecard.
Again, twitter blows up. Who dimed out Tiger? What a stupid rule? And less prominent but still given voice: Augusta hates blacks and women. I mean, really. Just. Really.
Why have rules? (more…)