Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Here we go again. (Another rant.) Another paintball company (out of Canuckistan) has taken a flyer in the New Media goulash of mixing self-promotion with (supposed) entertainment. Not quite infotainment, the blasphemous offspring of celebrity & (low) culture, this latest effort is called Gab-fest and can be seen on ProPaintball among others. For starters the name is something MY grandfather would have come up with as hip and au currant. Seriously, Gab-fest? That'll definitely have all the prepubescent punks tuning in for sure. Then there's the topic of episode one which was practically ripped from today's paintball headlines, The Generational Differences. I know I can't decide who was better; Marty Bush or Jason Edwards--and it's driving me crazy. (How 'bout a call in feature to make Gab-fest interactive and maybe answer some of these important questions.) Unfortunately, most of today's players don't know and don't care that paintball was played before they started nor do they care who it was playing back in those dark Old Skool ages. To speak for the generations Gab-fest rounded up popular player Justin Rabackoff and--more importantly--his dad, Steve Rabackoff. The conversation went something like this: The game was slower then. It's faster now. We were really good. Everything was slower then including the guns and players. The best of the OG's would match up fine with today's top players. They couldn't compete with today's players, old man. Could so. Could not. Yada yada yada. But of course the real point was to get Steve front and center. [That last statement is speculation, not fact, but ...] Thing is, the Canadian company producing Gab-fest recently dropped one brand of paint in order to be Canada's sole distributor of another brand of paint. Coincidentally, Steve used to work for the dropped brand of paint but now works for the other. So without quite beating their audience over the head the producer reinforces their market tie-in, promotes their exclusive paint brand and builds closer relationships with the paint brand and its reps. All in the guise of an entertaining video with a couple of famous paintball peeps. [More speculation ...] The real purpose of Gab-fest is to popularize the producer's product lines using an infotainment-type vehicle instead of traditional advertising and promotion--marketing masquerading as media. Which is better than media shilling for PBIndustry but still, there's something about the blurring of boundaries I find troubling. Next time on episode two of Gab-fest--and this is just a guess--sales reps from two gun makers the company sells will debate that perennial paintball contest; scenario vs. tourney. Sounds like another winner to me.