Quoted from Aurich:
You know, the more I think about this the less I like it. Stern can of course do whatever the hell they please. But the IFPA being involved kinda rubs me the wrong way. This isn't about promoting pinball, it's about promoting one company over the others. I'd rather they stayed more neutral than this and let Stern do their own thing. Are the IFPA going to give less play to events that don't feature Stern machines or that aren't Stern Army Approved™ now? (I doubt it, but still, people might wonder.)
Whatever, it's a marketing gimmick that will be a non story by next year, but still, it's just a weird look. Am I just biased because I'm working on this Heighway project? Does anyone else feel like that's a little weird, or is it just me?
This hobby is strange like that, lot of ethical lines crossed that set off my alarms since my day job is in journalism and we're very careful about not crossing the streams. Like when Nate from Coast2Coast did that whole Stern series. Cool, good idea. And yet ... he clearly wants to stay in Stern's good graces now, and wants Jody and Gomez on his show, and is taking their money. It's just a podcast, he can be in bed with whoever he likes. But I personally find it a little uncomfortable, I prefer a firewall between sales and editorial.
Maybe it's just me, and I don't mean to put Nate on blast. He was just taking advantage of an opportunity, I get that. And the IFPA probably sees this as a way to increase pinball visibility, so it fits their core mission. But it all smacks of pay to play.
We work hard for our sponsors Aurich. Currently Stern and JJP are two of our biggest sponsors, and Heighway was in the past and we hope will be again in the future.
We're all about building the partnerships with our sponsors to help their business in any way they see fit. Sometimes it's as simple as sharing an email list, sometimes it's reaching out to collect earnings and audit information to send back to the mothership, and sometimes it's about organizing some bigger campaigns.
Stern has taken full advantage of this by coming up with campaigns together that pushes pinball (and of course themselves) in a positive direction. The concept of launch parties, The King of the Ring, $tern Rewards Program and now the Stern Army.
For JJP we've helped to organize the tournament at their open house each year, as well as organize the official Hobbit launch party held here in Chicago. We certainly have more plans in the works with JJP once they feel they have enough equipment out in the world to do some more 'creative things' with the IFPA.
The Stern guys are well aware that there will come a time where other manufacturers partner with the IFPA on campaigns where they feel they can tap the competitive side of the hobby to further promote their business. Them being 'totally cool with that' probably isn't true, but they know that my organization is about promoting pinball in a positive way for all of our sponsors . . . not just Stern.
If us helping our sponsors rubs you the wrong way, that's of course an opinion you're welcome to have.