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The Hog Blog Horn Porn Review – Self-Awareness and Outdoor Channel Runs Product Ads On Facebook?

November 7, 2014

First of all, you guys fail. 

I don’t expect a ton of participation from the bots and crawlers that make up the bulk of my site traffic, but I sort of figured some human out there must read, and care enough to think we could come up with a better title for the TV review posts.  But what did I get?  Nada.  So I came up with something myself. 

See what you get?  That’ll teach you… or not.

This week, it’s all about self-awareness.  Well, self-awareness, and a few other things.  But we’ll start with the easy one.

Mossy Oak produces and sponsors a bunch of TV shows.  That’s no surprise, since the company has become one of the monsters of the industry.  Like their chief competitor, RealTree, these former camo companies have blown up to dominate everything from product branding to outdoor-oriented real estate.  Just the other day, I got a press release about a new set of ear buds, branded by Mossy Oak and JBL.  No, really.  Ear buds.  For your portable music player or game machine, or whatever.

It’s also no surprise that, on their programs, folks wear a lot of camo.  That’s just what you do when a camo company is footing the tab for your hunt, your gear, and in some cases, signing your paycheck.  So, for example, the other day on Mossy Oak’s Hunting the Country program, they had a bunch of folks hunting whitetails down in Texas.  It was chilly (for Texas), and every hunter was garbed, head-to-toe, in Mossy Oak camo.  I don’t recall the pattern.  There are so many now, who can keep up?  The point is, everyone was pretty well outfitted with some great camo.

And then they loaded up and drove out to their box blinds.

So, generally, this is a small thing.  Of course, we all know that you don’t need camo if you’re hunting from a shooting house.  (Personally, I don’t think you need camo at all to hunt big game with a rifle, but that’s neither here nor there.)  But I don’t really care if you choose to wear it anyway.  Still, there’s a sort of irony in the voiceover pointing out that the hunters are geared up in their Mossy Oak camo, and the implication that this will somehow help them to be successful on this hunt.  Because it won’t.   As a viewer, I couldn’t help thinking that these guys could be wearing Speedos and Hawaiian shirts for all the difference it would make.

The only reason I picked this particular episode of this particular program, by the way, is because it’s the one I was watching when it struck me to pick up my notepad and jot it down.  The phenomenon itself is endemic across the genre.  Whether it’s Mossy Oak hunting in Texas, Real Tree in Missouri, or the Under Armor guys in Alabama, you watch them promote the camo clothing and then climb into an enclosed stand to shoot deer at 100 yards or more.  It’s mildly off-putting because these guys, as professional hunters, have to know that the camo makes no difference in that situation.  At the very least, they could drop a comment now and then to let us know they recognize what we’re all saying.  Where’s the self-awareness?

What would be cool, by the way, is if one of these companies would produce and promote a new pattern just for the shooting house hunter… sort of like the guys hunting from ground blinds who have adopted black hoodies to blend into the black interior of the blind.  Now that makes sense.  Not sure what this shooting house pattern would look like, although I’d imagine something like rough grains of CDX plywood.  You can get Plain-ol-Pine®, or you can go for the gusto and get the Marine Grade Green® pattern.  For the upscale hunter, maybe something like Beaded Birch Paneling®, or Fiberglass Grey®.

I had another topic, but this literally just came up…

I follow the hunting channels (Sportsman Channel, Outdoor Channel, and Pursuit) on Facebook.  In addition to getting previews and notices about upcoming new shows and episodes, they also share clips, photos and tidbits from the various programs and celebrity hunters.  And, of course, they do contests.  It’s usually a reasonably good balance of promotion and entertainment.  But this morning, as I popped over to say good morning to Kat (she’s in Raleigh, I’m in Texas), I caught a new post from The Outdoor Channel.  It was a full-length ad for a product that has nothing to do with the Outdoor Channel or any of the programs that air there.  There wasn’t even any context to link back to the programming or the network itself.  Just an ad.

To say the least, I was taken aback.

Isn’t this a little much?  Logically, of course, I recognized the utility of what they were doing.  I expect there’s good money to be made by extending your advertisers’ exposure from the TV network to social media.  It seems pretty efficient, in a business sense, I think.  Of course, I’m definitely no businessman.

No, what I see here is overreach.

I understand that the whole reason a corporation establishes a social media presence is for self-promotion.  The hunting channels advertise themselves and their programming via these channels, and it’s pretty successful.  In addition to exposure, it provides a certain amount of interactivity for the viewers and that establishes a deeper, personal investment.  It creates a sense of ownership and connection.  You know, the psychology of marketing and all that.

And maybe that’s why this advertisement thing shook me a little.  To me (and maybe I’m just weird), it felt a little too exploitative.  It was a violation of my trust because, well, social media is personal.  This is the same platform I use to communicate with my circle of friends and my loved ones.  I let the Outdoor Channel into that circle, and here they’re going to pollute this place by running ads?  At the very least, it’s disappointing.

I’m hoping this was just an experiment on the part of the Outdoor Channel’s social networking team, and that they will reconsider the practice.  Like most viewers of the hunting channels, I already feel a little over-saturated with advertising and product placement during the course of regular programming.  I generally watch it anyway.  But if the ads start to extend to the social network sites as well, then that’s going to be too bad.  Personally, I know I’ll stop following the feeds and I expect a fair number of other folks will do the same.

As I said before, I’m no businessman.  But it seems to me that there’s a cost-benefit consideration here.  I would think that the Outdoor Channel brings in enough advertising revenue through its regular channels that it would be able to justify running social media campaigns as overhead… a marketing expense.  If so, then alienating viewers by pushing ads to social media would be somewhat counterproductive.

But maybe that’s just me.

Comments

5 Responses to “The Hog Blog Horn Porn Review – Self-Awareness and Outdoor Channel Runs Product Ads On Facebook?”

  1. The Hog Blog Horn Porn Review – Self-Awareness and Outdoor Channel Runs Product Ads On Facebook? | AllHunt.com on November 7th, 2014 12:57

    […] The Hog Blog Horn Porn Review – Self-Awareness and Outdoor Channel Runs Product Ads On Facebook? […]

  2. Robb on November 10th, 2014 21:46

    I wear blaze orange and dull grey/green/brown. No blue of any sort. Kinda like to dress normal. Blaze orange stuff gets washed separate for smell and UV brighteners. I’m sure there is great clothing made in camo, I just have no time or inclination.

  3. Phillip on November 11th, 2014 11:21

    Robb, I think that’s a pretty reasonable combination. I’m admit I seldom wear blaze orange except where it’s required, such as North Carolina and Colorado.

    For most of my rifle hunting, I’m more likely to be wearing a pair of Carhartt or Wrangler work pants, a shirt that suits the weather (usually some sort of grey or earth-toned t-shirt), and my old, green guide jacket. I avoid white t-shirts, for obvious reasons, but I’ve found that most blue clothing doesn’t seem to have much of an effect on deer or hogs.

    I do have a pretty big collection of camo, and I wear some of it often because it’s my “hunting clothes” (sort of like your play clothes, when you were a kid) so it doesn’t matter if I get it bloody. And some of that stuff, like the military-styled pants, is just downright comfy for backcountry hunting.

  4. Robb on November 11th, 2014 19:20

    I’ve heard from a few places that all varieties of deer see things in the UV range much different than we do. All things blue appear very bright, even blue jeans. And the UV brighteners in many detergents that make colors really pop, make regular colors bright for deer. Mostly I think they key into any movement but I figure no harm in trying to hide best I can.

    I do buy camo stuff when good clothes are cheap. I go through boots fast and it’s possible to pick up very good hunting boots on sale. The high sides and camo keep the hikers from buying them. I get a fair amount of army surplus too.

  5. Phillip on November 12th, 2014 16:36

    I’ve seen a lot of that same research, Robb, and far be it from me to contradict. However, I used to wear blue jeans pretty regularly, and as long as they don’t catch me moving, it’s not an issue. I’ve also had them bust me with orange, probably because there’s enough glow there to highlight any movement. But I generally try to stick with earth tones these days… every little extra edge is a good thing.

    Funny you mention surplus gear. For a long time, that’s all I had (because it’s all I could afford). A lot of it is really durable, and quite comfy in the field, and it used to really be cheap (especially the used stuff). I was shocked the last time I went to pick up a pair of BDU trousers, though, as they were priced as high as a pair of good blue jeans. Of course, now that I can afford better, I don’t want to pay for it. Sad, huh?

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