Friday, July 17, 2009

Gaming Paper: Selling Game Products with Online Infomercials

Erik Bauer, the inventor and chief salesman of Gaming Paper, has a difficult road ahead of him. Erik is trying to sell what might be viewed by many as an "old" product as a new innovation. Erik is trying to get the modern roleplaying gamer to buy his specially designed paper to replace the gaming tiles and expensive gaming mats on which gamers are currently spending lots of money. He wants us to buy...paper, and to make his case he is becoming that most wonderful of things and internet Pitchman.

It's hard to be a Pitchman, a carnival barker, a huckster if you will. Most people think you're kind of shady and untrustworthy, but I've always admired these dicey individuals. I love a good huckster. It doesn't matter whether the huckster is running a game of three card monte, working at a carnival, promoting a movie, or selling me stuff on television. There's just something entertaining about the patter and technique that entertains me, not that I'm going to buy from them mind you. This is one of the reasons I am going to deeply miss Billy Mays, and lament the fact that I never got to see William Castle in action.

At the carnival, the job of the barker might be to convince the rube that the $2.00 stuffed animal is worth 10 attempts at a carnival game...each game costing $3.00. The job of the carnival barker is to create a higher demand for an item than the item might otherwise command. After all, if the $2.00 stuffed animal isn't a $2.00 stuffed animal but a "test of one's manliness" then it is certainly worth $30.00. Right?

On television, you watch masters of the art (like the aforementioned Billy Mays) gleefully attempt to convince viewers that they absolutely must buy OxiClean for their cleaning needs or Green Now to fix up their lawn.

The internet is the perfect environment for these ne'er do wells. In fact, the internet is home to one of the best hucksters of all time, Tom Dickson, with his stream of "Will it Blend?" internet ads. I absolutely love the "diamonds" ad that Blend-Tec did a while ago.

So how does Erik measure up to the great Pitchmen like Billy Mays and Tom Dickson? By the video below, you can see that he gets the concept of pitching and seems to be trying to fuse the Dickson and Mays models. It does come off as a little clumsy and low, but it's still entertaining. I particularly admire the comment about ink bleed, "it doesn't go through...unless you went really thick." I actually recommend watching all 5 videos they have up, there are some pretty silly moments that are pretty entertaining. In fact, in support of Erik I'll probably buy a few rolls of his "high quality paper." $4.00 a roll doesn't seem like too much to ask.

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