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Thread: Can we talk about Paul for a minute?

  1. #1
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    Can we talk about Paul for a minute?

    When I first discovered PRS guitars, I was in love -- and still am!!

    But as an ex-marketing guy, I can't help but cringe a bit, when I see his increasingly loveless, deranged and rambling devotionals, on a range of shitty websites.

    Every time (musiciansfriend, willcutt, MusicLive, HoboOutlet), it's the same tired script. And he's making a fool of himself.

    I don't know what marketing/advertising company is behind this ********, but it needs to stop. He's eroding the brand.

    He has such charisma (if CAREFULLY managed) -- and that's undoubtedly where his advisors are going -- but they're giving him bad advice, and he increasingly looks out of it. Mr-Magoo-esque, if you will. Endearing, in some aspects, it comes across as frighteningly out of touch in others.

    Comments, thoughts, accusations?

    "This right here is a very musical wooden guitar. We sell a lot of 'em"
    "What's special about it?"
    "It's very musical {knock on wood}. See that?"
    "Yeah, I guess"
    "This is a Custom PRS, and we sell a TON of them, because they're so musical and woody".
    "Okay, well thanks Paul, we'll continue to sell them!"

    Has Paul forgotten that his core audience has a brain??

    The musician in me doesn't care -- I love his goddamn guitars to death.

    But the marketing strategist in me dies another death every time I see him on YouTube.
    Last edited by Evan; 07-19-2014 at 07:28 AM.

  2. #2
    Plank Spanker justmund's Avatar
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    My what a hungry troll you are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by justmund View Post
    My what a hungry troll you are.
    Not sure what you mean. I can assure you I'm no troll. I own 3 PRSi and love them to death, just wanted to start a conversation about the CEO is all.

    (I just posted yesterday about how in love I am with my P22, if that assuages your vagina at all.)

    I LOVE my P22. Oh my god, I would actually marry it. But yeah, Paul's getting a little crazy and stupid out on the marketing trail, IMO. And this is strictly coming from a professional in the industry, one who happens to think that Paul is making a mistake.
    Last edited by Evan; 07-19-2014 at 07:34 AM.

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    Are you serious?

    Is this not allowed here?

    Do I need to pass some kind of test before I dare pose questions?

    Wait, who the **** are you?

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    I'd love it if someone else would chime in here. I recognise that criticism of Paul might not be hugely popular, but I kinda figured that the collective self-esteem here might be able to handle it, no? I'm sure Paul would handle it with aplomb.

    I didn't anticipate to be called a troll for no reason -- I expected some kind of discussion.
    Last edited by Evan; 07-19-2014 at 08:01 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member kingsleyd's Avatar
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    Hmm... ...well, first, I think the assumption that these dog-and-pony show events are the result of a carefully-crafted marketing scheme might not hold: they sure come off to me as "Paul being Paul." He's an enthusiastic guy, but he can also be snarky and sarcastic. Videos of this sort on YouTube, by their very nature, are quick-view slices of life that are mostly taken out of context when viewed on your computer, iPad, whatever, somewhere out there in the world. Hard to base a whole lot on them, whether it's Paul "live in some store somewhere" or "[name famous guitar player here] jamming in some club somewhere."

    Second, I think what the dog-and-pony-show visits are all about is this: you can't go to a Fender dealer and meet Leo Fender. You can't go to a Gibson dealer and meet Orville Gibson. (or Lloyd Loar, or Ted McCarty, and lord knows you wouldn't want to meet Henry Juskiewicz!) But you can go to a PRS dealer and meet Paul. Simple as that, really. It's not about getting hard information about the guitars. It's about the connection with the person whose name is on the headstock. That may or may not mean a lot to you, in particular, but judging by the number of people who bring guitars (or guitar parts) to these things to be signed, it's clearly a big deal to some.

    Third, PRS have produced a whole series of more carefully scripted videos (and even there, there's a range) that are available on the website. The "rules of tone" series being an example. So there is harder information available, although even then there's a clear limit to what Paul's willing to share. For the obvious (at least to me) reason that he doesn't necessarily want to put everything he's learned out there where anyone (i.e., competitors) can benefit without having done their own homework.
    Last edited by kingsleyd; 07-19-2014 at 08:18 AM.

  8. #8
    I think you could have made your point in a better way. Honestly, can Paul be a little, dare I say, cheesy? Sure. However, its part of the dudes charm and it seems to be who he is and not manufactured. It works to help sell guitars and he is doing really well at it. You did make the mistake of critiquing Paul on the corporate forum (aka PRS Fanboyville) and that is akin to bringing a knife to a gunfight.

  9. #9
    Pincher of Harmonics Blackbird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    "This right here is a very musical wooden guitar. We sell a lot of 'em"
    "What's special about it?"
    "It's very musical {knock on wood}. See that?"
    "Yeah, I guess"
    "This is a Custom PRS, and we sell a TON of them, because they're so musical and woody".
    "Okay, well thanks Paul, we'll continue to sell them!"
    Do you have a link to this video that you quoted?
    12 408 - 12 DGT - 09 Tremonti II - 98 CU24 - 97 CE22 - Mesa MarkIV - Kemper Profiler Amp - EVH 5150 III - PRS Archon

  10. #10
    Senior Member 11top's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew View Post
    I think you could have made your point in a better way.
    I'd include "tact" along with "better."
    Last edited by 11top; 07-19-2014 at 08:29 AM.
    Sh*tter's full

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingsleyd View Post
    Hmm... ...well, first, I think the assumption that these dog-and-pony show events are the result of a carefully-crafted marketing scheme might not hold: they sure come off to me as "Paul being Paul." He's an enthusiastic guy, but he can also be snarky and sarcastic. Videos of this sort on YouTube, by their very nature, are quick-view slices of life that are mostly taken out of context when viewed on your computer, iPad, whatever, somewhere out there in the world. Hard to base a whole lot on them, whether it's Paul "live in some store somewhere" or "[name famous guitar player here] jamming in some club somewhere."

    Second, I think what the dog-and-pony-show visits are all about is this: you can't go to a Fender dealer and meet Leo Fender. You can't go to a Gibson dealer and meet Orville Gibson. (or Lloyd Loar, or Ted McCarty, and lord knows you wouldn't want to meet Henry Juskiewicz!) But you can go to a PRS dealer and meet Paul. Simple as that, really. It's not about getting hard information about the guitars. It's about the connection with the person whose name is on the headstock. That may or may not mean a lot to you, in particular, but judging by the number of people who bring guitars (or guitar parts) to these things to be signed, it's clearly a big deal to some.

    Third, PRS have produced a whole series of more carefully scripted videos (and even there, there's a range) that are available on the website. The "rules of tone" series being an example. So there is harder information available, although even then there's a clear limit to what Paul's willing to share. For the obvious (at least to me) reason that he doesn't necessarily want to put everything he's learned out there where anyone (i.e., competitors) can benefit without having done their own homework.
    I wholeheartedly agree that it's a nice thing that Paul gets out there and meets and greets.

    And, again, this is probably the worst venue in which to air my grievances -- as a marketing professional -- about the style in which PRS is marketed.

    Yet I'm thoroughly convinced -- as a branding professional of some experience -- that Paul needs to take a step back from his role as front-man. Mainly, because he's begun to sound like a crazy person.

    It's fine if you disagree. But again, strictly from a professional standpoint, I would personally encourage him to step away from the microphone, at this stage in his career. No, particularly at this stage in his career. Because he's starting to develop crazy-mouth.

    But that's just me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew View Post
    You did make the mistake of critiquing Paul on the corporate forum (aka PRS Fanboyville) and that is akin to bringing a knife to a gunfight.
    I just noticed this, and you are correct, sir. Gah, well...

    (I wanna talk about the brand because I care about its future...can't we do that here?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by 11top View Post
    I'd include "tact" along with "better."
    I am tactless, I'll agree. But can we talk about it?

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    Paul is Paul. Frankly, when he talks guitars I get the impression that he is still EXCITED about guitars. So...no harm done. Quite the opposite, actually.

  15. #15
    Senior Member kingsleyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    Yet I'm thoroughly convinced -- as a branding professional of some experience -- that Paul needs to take a step back from his role as front-man. Mainly, because he's begun to sound like a crazy person.
    Then talk to someone @ PRS. Not much to be accomplished by airing this opinion here, regardless of what sort of response you get.

    FWIW, I know and am friends with quite a few guitar builders, Paul included. They're all, to some extent, crazy people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by R.B. Huckleberry View Post
    Paul is Paul. Frankly, when he talks guitars I get the impression that he is still EXCITED about guitars. So...no harm done. Quite the opposite, actually.
    I had the exact same impression, when I was new to the brand. I loved the idea of a living "Leo Fender."

    But -- and I may be too sensitive to this as someone in the industry -- his tiresome repetition has become a liability.

    Look, all I'm saying is that whatever marketing outfit is encouraging Paul to parrot the same ******** over and over is doing him a grave disservice.

    Modern consumers see ALL this ****. They see Paul saying the same stupid **** over and over. (Go pretend you're a new buyer and look for PRS...you'll see Paul saying the same stupid sh*t at every sleazy webtailer around. Period. And I think it's run its course. And I think most prestigious ad agencies would agree.

    He's not as eloquent as Steve Jobs -- full stop -- so he shouldn't try to replicate his success at public speaking.
    Last edited by Evan; 07-19-2014 at 08:52 AM.

  17. #17
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    I think you have some good points and I agree to a certain extent.

    I will also say that to me, as a PRS lover from way back, that as a whole, PRS marketing looks a bit tired to me. The same old hot shots of guitars on a black background etc., it looks dated and basically the exact same as it was in the early 90s.

  18. #18
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    Justmund has it right. Please don't feed the troll.....
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingsleyd View Post
    Then talk to someone @ PRS. Not much to be accomplished by airing this opinion here, regardless of what sort of response you get.

    FWIW, I know and am friends with quite a few guitar builders, Paul included. They're all, to some extent, crazy people.
    I'm genuinely happy for you, but for those of us who aren't friends with Paul, we're relegated to discussing him and his products here. I know I'm sounding like a dick right now, but that's really not my intention nor who I am.

    I, as a semi-stakeholder in PRS, (with emotional attachment to the brand, along with 3 guitars) I just wanted to share my concerns (again, as a branding professional), I'm merely concerned that Paul is getting poor advice. And were I not alone in representing the marketing profession, I'm fairly sure that others would say, "no ****.":

    Paul does damage to the brand whenever he steps in front of a camera and repeats this **** he's been saying for the past 4 years. Full stop.
    Last edited by Evan; 07-19-2014 at 09:23 AM.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    He's not as eloquent as Steve Jobs -- full stop -- so he shouldn't try to replicate his success at public speaking.
    Jobs' success at carefully scripted, rehearsed WWDC events can't be fairly compared to Paul standing in front of a small room full of guitar enthusiasts. Moreover, his audience is different. I'm not sure I'd want Steve Jobs selling me a guitar, though I love his company's computers.

    Paul is the same guy who got roadies to sneak him backstage at rock concerts so he could personally sell guitars to rock stars. He works pretty tirelessly to get around the country, and the world, to promote what he makes personally. How many CEOs do that? There is a charm to it that is way beyond slick marketing.

    And people respond well. I happen to enjoy the videos.

    As an ad agency supplier, I've sat in hundreds of meetings with creative directors, writers, art directors, producers, market researchers, marketing guys/gals, and clients on Fortune 500 campaigns for 25 years. One person's idea of a brilliant campaign is another person's idea of a POS campaign.

    The thinking is hardly uniform about what will sell, what to do, how to plan a campaign, what will or won't work, etc. Usually it boils down to the client's gut feeling about which direction to take, and then a plan is selected and everyone rolls along happily whether the advertising is good, bad, or embarrassing.

    You don't like Paul's folksy, personal approach, other people love it.

    But feedback on one's communication is usually a good thing, whether it's about your reaction to Paul, or someone's reaction to your post.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

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