Accepting Nominees for the 1st annual Hall and Oates “Promises, Promises” Marketing Awards

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4kpromoSo I’ve been reading some AV “news” lately, and much of what I’m finding in this arena is not actually writing but regurgitation. Blame it on a slow news day if you must, but it seems many sites just repost manufacturer’s press releases ad hoc and call them“news.”

Now if press releases only related newsworthy events, I may have no beef here, but most of us know that this is not the case. Press releases seem to be generated every time a manufacturer changes a model number or an integrator sends a new employee to get their DMC-D.  I know of one integrator, McCann Systems, which has done over 100 press releases in less than three years. In their defense, some are very newsworthy while many are not, but if AV publications picked everyone up and ran it as news, I’d have to stop reading. So why do so many do it with product releases?

I get that many of these companies spend advertising dollars in the AV publication space, but running every piece of creative writing their marketing departments pass off as product info is just useless to most integrators.

I saw a “news” story on a new video extender from Wyrestorm that stated HDMI at1080p on Cat5e/Cat6 to 100 meters and also touted POE, EDID emulation, and support for 4k resolutions.  The press release sounded like a magic bullet, and for that release, they get a “Promises, Promises” award in the video extender category.

Upon closer inspection on the Wyrestorm site, you find that on Cat5e they hedge toward 1080i at 100 meteres, that POE works at certain resolutions, that 4K support testing is no where to be found, and that the table of resolutions/frame rates tested and specific supported distances on Cat5e and Cat6 are noticeably absent in the manuals and support documents.

It’s just another case of marketing “claims” coming up against real world performance. I’m not picking on Wyrestorm specifically, as many others do the same thing.

Companies hear 4K is hot. They want a product that can capitalize on the 4K buzz. They analyze bandwidth specs and say “well, ours should work, let’s run with it.”  Nevermind that they haven’t tested it successfully with a true 4K source and sink, or been able to transmit EDID for 4K from point A to point B, or that they sent a 1080p source to a 4K display to be up-scaled, meaning 4K content wasn’t actually ever sent down the line.

To be fair, Wyrestorm, in general, makes a great product. The EDID management features are valuable, (especially in sending signals through a DA to screens with different resolutions), and the local HDMI ports on some units to feed a preview monitors at the source head end or AV rack are great features missing from several other extender products. I also find their reps in the field to be very knowledgeable, and to give you the real story on where their products excel.  (The marketing department should be taking some notes here.)

So slow news day or not, let’s challenge the publications we read to not just rubberstamp press releases written by marketing executives who have degrees in 19th Century French Literature.  Let’s ask them to at least dive into the specs written by those sitting at a test bench, as they know much better than most where the innovation and value in the new products actually lies. The press release may make a much better article than a speeds and feeds report, but some backing for the claims should at least be investigated by the staff first before regurgitating them ad hoc. I think everyone’s publications would become more valuable in the process.

Are you sick of marketing product sheets that don’t tell the real story? Who is your nominee for a Hall and Oates “Promises, Promises” Marketing Award?