In an effort to be as transparent as possible with the Working Class Zero community, while providing relevant information I feel obligated to share my experiences so that you are prepared and understand what we are up against in our world. Without sacrificing details I will try to be brief in exposing some truths behind a recent decision for a contest involving a major fishing publication and action sport camera manufacturer. First and foremost, I did not win nor did I expect to win but I will address that later. Instead I want to provide you a firsthand account on how my involvement came to be and the attempted manipulation of what was thought to be low hanging fruit.
Just a little over a year ago, I was contacted by a major sports action camera manufacturer after winning one of their online video contest. They were looking to see if I had more big bass videos, shot on their cameras that I would be willing to contribute to their youtube channel. I confirmed that I had plenty, but after some back-and-forth it was made clear that they were not willing to pay me for my contributions. Fair enough, I declined the offer and walked away.
That conversation triggered a sense of urgency in me and a realization that people were starting to pay attention to what I was putting out there. So on Feb. 9th2015, I went out on a limb, started a youtube channel and published Dock Monster. The video gained a fair amount of attention, but not as much as it would have on their channel, regardless I felt good about. Not long after, I received a message about their need for big bass footage again. Only this time they explained it would be used to promote a video contest series with a $70,000 bass boat as the grand prize. In our phone conversation it was explained that they had already exhausted all their resources and were coming looking to me to help them out. This was music to my ears! Here they are, paying their pro staff thousands of dollars a month to represent the brand, film on their cameras, provide footage that could be use for promotional purposes and they had nothing. To me that meant I had value or so I thought. The conversation turned for the worse when again I was offered nothing but notoriety for the footage. I don’t know about you, but something about giving free stuff to a 1.4 billion dollar a year company didn’t sit well with me. While I took the opportunity to point out the obvious and how ridiculous the request was, they were not going to budge.
Fast forward to February 18th, 2015. I’m staring at my phone scrolling through the instagram feed when a post catches my attention. It was a video that the company had just released promoting all the cool ways you could use their camera for fishing. It was a great piece, but not an original one. You see, in our previous conversations we had discussed some potential opportunities of me being involved in a video shoot to create something like Dock Monster. But just like all other times, when I expressed that I would need to be paid, I was told that it just wasn't in their budget or that they could do it without to me. Maybe I’m naive or I grossly under estimated my adversary, but I was definitely caught off guard when I saw they had done just that. I wasn’t as upset as I was disappointed by the whole situation. But since I’m never one to shy away from some good #fishbeef, I took the opportunity to make a post on my Instagram. It was a screen shot of their video and across the photo it read “imitation is the highest form of flattery". It definitely ruffled a few feathers, but what else could I do?
Right around the same time, their video contest was about to kick off. Over the course of the next couple of months I kept an eye out but it was glaringly obvious that the contest wasn't popping off like they hoped. So come August 8th, just a few days left for the final deadline, I wasn’t surprised when I received a message from the company representative saying “Dude, why have you not entered the contest. You would win you know. There is nothing good. Just super weak shit.” In that very moment, despite my better judgment I took the bait and submitted a video that met all the criteria. It wasn’t the biggest fish, but I felt it was strong enough to win based on their judging criteria. Deep down, I had a feeling that no matter what I submitted there was no way in hell that they would let me win again. Not because the video wasn’t good, but because of my previous interactions with the company and unwillingness to allow them to use my stuff for free. The judging deadline came and went, peeking my curiosity so much that I contacted them to see if they had chosen a winner. I was told they hadn’t and that they were still in the process of judging the videos. At that same moment, I was also talking with Kayla Nevius who had entered the contest via the same desperate request from the company. In complete contrast to what they were saying, Kayla was now telling me the grand prize winner had already been chosen and that it was her. That was awesome, but unfortunately that didn’t last long. In their desperation to get the Cinderella story they had failed to follow some of their very own contest rules, forcing them to disqualify her. It’s funny how this stuff works and people get so emotionally involved but there was something really at stake here. For any individual that entered it could have been a life changing moment ya know? The behind the scenes tactics is less than stellar business practice for what I would consider loyal, long standing customers of the brand thinking they had a legitimate shot. Think about it. This is you, me or your neighbor investing their hard earned cash for gear to qualify for a false reality. But what do you do? Shrug your shoulders and walk away? In the end and in spite of the outcome, I’m glad I stuck to my guns for what I believe. Never caving to the pressure or grabbing dangling carrot for my ten seconds of fame. I’m still here with my video, my pride, a clean conscience and zero sense of being used. Here is the appropriately revised version of the losing contest video I submitted with some extra footage. Enjoy