November 16, 2010
Why TNA's Advertising Sucks
While reading the comment section of my last column, it came to my attention that some of our readers had the wrong impression about me. It seems that some of you have gotten it in your heads that I disregard all points of view but my own and try to present the things I say on here and in my videos as facts.
If you guys are trying to put me in the same category as the Bill O'Reillys of the world, please believe me when I say that this could not be further from the truth. I consider myself a pretty humble person in real life and the thought that some readers might think that I try to present my views as the bottom line, final word truth is actually kind of saddening to me. I can't stand people like that.
Though I suppose I understand how some people might feel this way. Can I be very opinionated when it comes to pro wrestling? Certainly. Do I tend to believe that my opinions are correct? Yeah. But I think most people feel that way about their opinions. The only difference is that I make more noise than a lot of them and I'm lucky enough to have a platform like this one with which to make my loud mouth heard by as many people as I can.
But make no mistake. I'm under no illusions that I'm reporting facts when I review an iMPACT show. I've been wrong about stuff before and I'll be wrong again in the future. That being said, I do think I have a pretty good idea of what I'm talking about most of the time. Maybe I do and maybe I don't. I guess that's for our readers to decide.
Just try to remember one thing: When I say that, "This gimmick is stupid," or, "That storyline sucks," I'm not saying these things are facts. I'm just saying that's the way I feel.
However, when I say something like, "TNA's advertising is God awful," I feel confident in saying that this is 100% fact. And why is it a fact? Because they DON'T advertise!
And that brings us to the topic of this week's column...
Back in January of this year, I attended a TNA house show. It was the first time TNA had ever come to my area, it was only a 30 minute drive from my house and I was pretty pumped about it. The show was great, I had a blast, but the strange thing is that my being there almost didn't happen.
I found out about this show completely by accident. I was perusing the TNA website one day, went to click on a link, hit the live event schedule by mistake and saw the date of the show. At first I thought it was a misprint. I hadn't heard anything about this. I thought surely there would have been something done to promote the show. After all, when WWE comes to this area they make sure everyone within 500 miles knows about it.
It was not a misprint. So I shrugged my shoulders, ordered my ticket and marked my calendar. In the days leading up to the event, I was completely dumfounded by what TNA did to get the word out that they were doing a show in town -- nothing.
They did nothing.
There was no advertising for this event. None. Zero.
No TV ads, no radio ads, no internet ads, no newspaper ads. NOTHING! Not that I saw anyway. And while standing in line to get inside, I talked to several other fans who had the exact same experience.
I went to this show expecting the turnout to be small enough to make me almost embarrassed to be there myself. To my utter astonishment, they actually did have a good sized crowd. I have spent the last 10 months wondering how in the world they got so many people to show up for this event when they did absolutely nothing to promote it. I'm one of the more loyal TNA fans you're going to find anywhere and it was only through sheer dumb luck that I even knew this show was happening. Eventually, I chalked it up to it being the first time they had come to this area and there were a lot of diehards who were clamoring to see TNA live for the first time.
TNA lucked out that weekend. But as I understand it, they haven't been so lucky with attendance lately. The recent report of dismal turnouts for their house show loop in Missouri -- multiple shows headlined by Jeff Hardy and yet only drawing a scant few hundred fans each -- have not surprised me at all. If they did as little to promote those shows as they did the one I went to, I would expect nothing else regardless of who was on the card.
And here's the really crazy part...
Just a few weeks back, I attended a local independent show. It was easily the biggest indy show I'd ever been to, with big matches and several name talents on the card, but an indie show nevertheless, nowhere near the level TNA is on.
For WEEKS leading up to this event they were advertising. They were airing TV commercials constantly. There wasn't a single Monday night that went by that I didn't see at least one ad (usually multiple ads) for the show air during WWE Raw telling me when and where the show was, how I could get tickets and directing me to the website for more information.
The turnout was huge, a complete sellout. The crowd for this event was just as big, if not BIGGER than the crowd TNA drew for theirs. And because of the stellar job they did promoting the show, I now have pictures of myself with Bryan Danielson and Mickie James on my facebook page.
That's right, the advertising department of this INDEPENDENT company took the advertising department of TNA, the 2nd largest wrestling organization in the world, and wiped their ass with it.
What's wrong with this picture? Shouldn't a company on TNA's level have more on the ball than this?
I remember hearing the excuse once that the reason they don't advertise more is because they can't afford to -- it's just not in the budget. So answer me this then, TNA: If you don't advertise a house show, which leads to said house show drawing such poor attendance that you lose money on the event, how do you expect this to ever change?
Instead of doing multiple house shows in large, expensive venues, with little-to-no advertising, why don't you try running fewer house shows in smaller, cheaper venues with more advertising. Yes, fewer shows mean less potential revenue, but if you take the money you would have spent on those events and funnel it into the advertising budget, you'd probably get a bigger turnout and make a bigger profit on those other shows.
I've said numerous times in the past, if I were running this company, one my first orders of business would be to round up all the people responsible for advertising and fire every single one of them. These people are not doing their jobs. Hell, these people are not doing a damn thing.
On January 4th, Hulk Hogan made his TNA debut, bringing with him such name stars as Jeff Hardy and Ric Flair, and a whirlwind of publicity, helping iMPACT score a 1.5, its highest rating ever. Fast forward 10 months and that rating has not been equaled since. Even with the subsequent infusion of even MORE name stars in Ken Anderson, Rob Van Dam et al. iMPACT is once again struggling to get passed the 1.3-1.4 mark. But why? They've never had more star power than they have right now. What were they doing then that they're not doing now? What's the X-factor? ADVERTISING!
It's long been my belief that the main reason iMPACT scored their highest rating ever on January 4th was because for the first time ever, they were advertising like they weren't fooling around. They put up billboards in Time Square, they had Hogan doing radio interviews, TV interviews. It wasn't just the wrestling world that was talking about TNA -- EVERYONE was talking about TNA. And lo and behold, they got their highest viewership of all time. In the weeks that followed, that publicity wore off and those extra viewers left.
Take a lesson, Ms. Carter. You can load up your TV show with all the star power you want, but if your advertising is crap it won't matter in the end because no one is going to see it.
It's encouraging that Dixie recently hired a new marketing executive for the company. As I understand it, this person was responsible for the TNA stars appearing on Family Feud. Granted, I had no idea that show was even still on television, but hey, it's something to get TNA's name out there. It's more than what they were doing before. So that's a good start, but they need to do more than that. A lot more.
TNA need to take a good long look and make some serious changes to their advertising department because right now it sucks.
And that's a fact.