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BillA

Is Sponsorship a Sin?

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A week late, but here's my take on the whole thing.

 

Sinful Sponsorship? Seriously... Silly

 

 

  • Semple rails against "undeserved" self promotion, but never defines his terms. We all share about our climbing experiences somehow, but one person's version of "This is Rad" is to tell their wife and dog Rex, then go to bed. Another person might write an online trip report on a public forum, post photos on their blog, submit their account of the climb to Alpinist or Climbing magazine, and send a report to the American Alpine Journal. In any of these cases, nobody has to read or be exposed to the information/pictures/evidence of the "rad" accomplishment without specifically choosing to do so. To say that posting on one's blog, is "fine" but deride posting the same report to a wider audience via Hot Flashes draws an arbitrary line of dubious significance. Either you tell nobody, or you tell people who choose to hear about it. And if you are complaining about published climbing stories (online or in print), then submit your own or stop reading them. I hate Cat Fancy Magazine. Absolutely can't stand it. Guess what I reach for on the magazine rack? Not Cat Fancy. Problem Solved.

 

This is disingenuous Blake, and you know it. The issue is not the sharing but the motive for sharing. If Joe Blow does a cool climb and tells people about it, whether it be in Hot Flashes or the AAJ or a cc.com trip report or a SuperTopo posting, that is one thing. The medium doesn't matter.

 

However if Joe is either sponsored (and has sponsors who demand that their athlete be visible and get himself noticed) or is TRYING to be sponsored and hence building the all important spray resume, then Joe isn't just simply sharing his experience but trying to be noticed. In this case, the medium DOES matter since more eyeballs equals more notice equals better advertising. And this is where resume padding, grade inflation, exaggeration, "Alpine style" ascents that were really sieges, outright lying and other BS come into the equation, all because of the desire to make a profit from the experience.

 

I am not saying that people who are not sponsored never lie. I've run across tons of non-sponsoired liers, exaggerators, and shit talkers. But when you are trying to make money off your climbing the tendency to lie, hype, exaggerate, and overpromote has a financial incentive - and it is these egregious examples that Scott Semple is directly targeting.

 

I think that's a good point Dru, and something I overlooked. But I guess since we can't know someone's motive, it's not really my place to judge them for their motive. I'd say that as long as you are telling the truth about what you did, then feel free to let a wide audience of folks read about it and see the photos. If I don't want to read your "Hot Flash", cc.com TR, or blog post, I just wont click the mouse.

 

But honestly, who among hasn't been inspired by reading about the climbs of others?

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More than happy to leave it to the folks who are actually writing the checks to determine who and what it is or isn't in their interests to sponsor, dispense as a pro-deal, give away as swag, spend on logo-chotcke's to give away at trade shows, spend on glossy catalogs, or whatever.

 

In the end it's their money, ergo they ultimately get to make the call whether a given climber "deserves" their sponsorship or not.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

As an aside, I've always thought that it'd be kind of fun to use the paypal function here to generate a mini-pool of money that could be used as a kind of retrospective sponsorship.

 

Something like:

 

-Only people that pay into the fund get to vote($10/vote).

 

-One pool for the "best" effort in the alpine. Very low-end version of the Piolet D'or. Call it the "Golden Sheep." Worth discussing whether it'd best be for routes anywhere in the world or limited to efforts in the Cascades.

 

-One pool for the best TR.

 

-Each awarded once per yer with the prize announcements/distribtutions at one of the annual get-togethers.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------

 

Kind of fun to think about, especially in the context of this discussion about the politics and effects of sponsorship, but not something that I actually expect to happen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.... I've always thought that it'd be kind of fun to use the paypal function here to generate a mini-pool of money that could be used as a kind of retrospective sponsorship.

 

Something like:

 

-Only people that pay into the fund get to vote($10/vote).

 

-One pool for the "best" effort in the alpine. Very low-end version of the Piolet D'or. Call it the "Golden Sheep." Worth discussing whether it'd best be for routes anywhere in the world or limited to efforts in the Cascades.

 

-One pool for the best TR.

 

-Each awarded once per yer with the prize announcements/distribtutions at one of the annual get-togethers.

 

ding ding ding ding ding We have a winner.jpg !!!!

 

The runner up winner for Rock Climbing category would of course be called "the Velcro Mitt Award" and would look like this:

Sheep_1_medium.jpg

 

No stinking shiny trophies here....

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As an aside, I've always thought that it'd be kind of fun to use the paypal function here to generate a mini-pool of money that could be used as a kind of retrospective sponsorship.

 

Something like:

 

-Only people that pay into the fund get to vote($10/vote).

 

-One pool for the "best" effort in the alpine. Very low-end version of the Piolet D'or. Call it the "Golden Sheep." Worth discussing whether it'd best be for routes anywhere in the world or limited to efforts in the Cascades.

 

-One pool for the best TR.

 

-Each awarded once per yer with the prize announcements/distribtutions at one of the anal get-togethers.

Don't be fooled. JayB would buy 51% of the votes and vote for himself in every category, effectively doubling his money.

 

Greedy capitalist pig.

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Ran through the self-nomination/voting scenario in my head, but couldn't imagine anyone actually going through with it. Much easier just to head to the store and buy yourself some gear as a reward for all of your own efforts.

 

If people wanted to make non-voting donations as acts of penance for their general alpine lameness or atrocious TR's, I think that'd be a funding source worth looking into, though.

 

I'd probably be on the hook for more than I could afford to contribute, but would chip in at least $10 on principle.

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However if Joe is either sponsored (and has sponsors who demand that their athlete be visible and get himself noticed) or is TRYING to be sponsored and hence building the all important spray resume, then Joe isn't just simply sharing his experience but trying to be noticed. In this case, the medium DOES matter since more eyeballs equals more notice equals better advertising. And this is where resume padding, grade inflation, exaggeration, "Alpine style" ascents that were really sieges, outright lying and other BS come into the equation, all because of the desire to make a profit from the experience.

 

I am not saying that people who are not sponsored never lie. I've run across tons of non-sponsoired liers, exaggerators, and shit talkers. But when you are trying to make money off your climbing the tendency to lie, hype, exaggerate, and overpromote has a financial incentive - and it is these egregious examples that Scott Semple is directly targeting.

 

Sounds like Fox News. Some people are willing to sell hype. Some people are willing to buy hype. It is a free will market.

 

You get to decide with your money and your time. I don't buy into it. I don't complain nor spend my time on the subject like Scott is doing. But then again that is his free will to spend his time...and my time to read his discussion.

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This "sponsorship" debate could use more specific examples. I don't have any, because I don't care enough about it.

 

But then we could all rag on said poser, and conclude together that so-and-so is a douche. One big happy (cynical) family.

 

The big, sweeping, catch-all opinions, either pro or con, seem weak. Too many factors at play.

 

N

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I guess what I'm getting out of this is you can't get sponsored unless you sell yourself amd your accomplishments so hard that you basically become a: a 'douche' if you're not that good, b: a car salesman if you've got a decent product or c: all that and a box of rocks if you're the real deal. My problem is they all sound like small children begging for attention to me.

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What is wrong with a "professional" athlete seeking sponsorship again? How would I know which hand-woven Guatemalan chalk bag to buy if I didn't see Sharma, in wide-angle, from above, his well chalked fingers in hard focus, his face a blur of quiet determination, dynoing to a jug on a sacred Tibetan boulder, with prayer flags waving behind him?

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I'm surprised JayB can post with that dick in his throat. The free marketer paying for bullshit. Who'd be surprised now?

 

This is disingenuous Blake, and you know it. The issue is not the sharing but the motive for sharing. If Joe Blow does a cool climb and tells people about it, whether it be in Hot Flashes or the AAJ or a cc.com trip report or a SuperTopo posting, that is one thing. The medium doesn't matter.

 

Of course he knows it. He's a faggot kissing ass for a better deal!

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Hello All,

 

Glad to see my post is generating so much discussion. Thanks to BillA for the original link and to John Frieh for reading it in detail rather than jumping to conclusions.

 

These links should clarify some of the confusion that seems to surround my original post:

 

http://www.scottsemple.com/sponsorship-myths/

http://www.scottsemple.com/just-sinful/ (the slideshow version of the original post)

 

Cheers,

Scott

 

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what we need is a Suede Denim Sponsorship Police Force to make sure all sponsorships are warranted. i can print t-shirts for this, and we can start deputizing people.

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the whole topic is a bit prima donna. i know some sponsored climbers, and it seems like its a pain in the ass. as sponsored climbers they are not free to speak their mind because they are representing some brand and all its relationships.

 

i don't spend time analyzing if a climber deserved to be sponsored or not, and i actually don't give a rip about who is sponsored and who isn't. only people who are caught up in that ballerina world concern themselves with such matters.

 

climbing for me is a something that is worlds apart from "the climbing industry", and i actually feel bad for people who get caught up in hand wringing over how is is so "messed up", especially when they have formally vowed to divorce themselves from it.

 

to "clean up" who is sponsored or not you're going to have to go to the free enterprises that fund the mess and ask them to set up a subjective "worthiness committee". its not the climbers or their resumes that are the issue. its who ever is choosing to sponsor them. i realize this is your target and who you are trying to influence. perhaps we can boycott companies that sponsor climbers we don't think are worthy.

 

seems like there are other, more important battles to be fought. but this one is fun to talk about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you can get sponsored/paid to climb - more power to you. But does sponsorship work?

 

Got an Eddie Bauer catalog in the mail recently. It's got pics of Dave Hahn and Veistures on Everest wearing the new EB stuff. Am I going to go and buy it? NO! Hahn and Veistures are great climbers but the only reason they're wearing that stuff is they were paid to wear it. Not much of a reason for me to buy it.

 

I would be much more likely to buy something if I ran into some guy stumbling out of the Pickets after thrashing around for six days in the rain telling me his jacket kept him dry and didn't tear despite a ten hour midnight romp through an endless patch of Devil's Club.

 

Like seeing a pic of Sharma hanging off a 5.14 roof is going to make me go buy the same slippers he has, so I can go do a 5.8 route at Vantage. Not! Maybe a pic of some sponsored athlete with an entire toppled column laying on his head, but uninjured due to the helmet; yea might buy one of those for Vantage.

 

As far as an effective marketing tool, I view sponsorships the same way I view shotgun weddings - forced, contrived, and worthless.

 

 

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consumer psychology is an interesting topic, and i'd wager, contrary to all the denials of the effects of "advertising", there aren't many immune from its effects. we live in a matrix of barely conscious impulses, deeply imbedded from early on.

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even taking up "climbing" itself is the result of "advertising" in one form or another. we are a highly social and conformist species, like all species on this planet.

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