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Thread: A thought experiment

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Pacey View Post
    I see all that. One thing I'm still wondering about is, in a fantasy scenario (as in this present thread), if the CFC ever does get an influx of scads of cash each year, all of a sudden, why is it assumed that e.g. paid TV spot ads for the CFC would automatically fail?
    The cost of advertising on CBC TV nationally for thirty seconds would probably be on the order of $40,000. We could blaze through the entire foundation funds with five minutes of ads. On top of that it would probably cost you somewhere between $65,000 and $500,000 to produce a professional grade commercial to air on tv. It would probably cost even more if you wanted it to be effective. You are advertising to a huge audience of unqualified buyers. What could you say in 30 seconds to get them to join? TV works if you are selling something that every viewer might want to buy like Coca-Cola or Molson Canadian. It doesn't work for a product like chess where we are chasing a tiny percentage of the viewers. If you can show me a way that we can make that work, I would be very interested.

    Back at the dawn of TV advertising, people must have resolved simply to try advertising whatever their product was on TV, and simply hope for the best. Even though nowadays the CFC would have safer alternatives, taking a chance on a one-time TV spot just might pay off, or it might fail (and then the case would be proven).
    If the cost of airing a 30 second commercial is $40,000 plus set-up costs of several hundred thousand dollars, I'm pretty sure everyone would be lining up with pitchforks outside my house.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/shorter-comm...isers-1.886304

    https://www.webfx.com/blog/business-...-by-medium/#tv

    Of course, the CFC should not do so if it cannot yet afford to lose the investment. In any case, free community TV spots might be available in some cities still. Still, I also cannot shake the feeling that there might be a certain lack of confidence in the ability of organized chess to sell itself in Canada, in a way that cannot outdo even a kid's cereal (which is a truly optional product, too).
    The advertisers spend millions of dollars creating every ad for kids cereals and everyone watching is a potential customer for kids cereal. They make their money back with every ad or they stop running the ads. We can't afford to spend that much.

    Perhaps any unexpected large annual influx of cash for the CFC might be best spent on somehow improving the CFC's infrastructure, such as hiring another staff member (if somehow useful), if I was to look at things as conservatively as I could.

    edit: Incidentally your initial reply to me, that included indicating that the CFC has had some sort of a server deal for a while now, was big news to me. I thought I was seeing things (as I am prone to do now and then), or that I somehow exasperated you to the point that you told a whopper to shake me off. I hope the CFC is making that FIDE server tidbit well known (though as I alluded to in other threads, I don't go to the CFC website, the FIDE website or even CT due to my fear of getting my aging laptop somehow infected, even if I'm being irrational about all that at this point in time).
    It was well advertised at the time we signed up but we really needed people to volunteer to help us get it off the ground. I believe it came online around 2015 or 2016 around the same time I had finished with the NFP act process and started the CYCC/CO/NAYCC tournaments. I could not take on additional duties with that, the CFC presidency and the three tournaments on my plate. I learned that the deal is still alive because there is a Canadian who wants to change from registration as a USCF member to a CFC member because the CFC member gets a much better deal and more features. I had thought they gave up on us but apparently not.

  2. #12
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    I gather my original suggestion:

    - if nothing else, someday might have TV/Newspaper commercial(s) with a chess set plus refreshments on coffee table or picnic bench (no people present), with caption reminding people of chess in their childhood (asking if they would they like to brush up in a big way, then give CFC website address)

    is not considered satisfactory for promoting the CFC, for TV anyway. If the costs for paid TV ads (no matter what TV station) are indeed prohibitive (even if the CFC became wealthy and saved for e.g. a decade), maybe my suggestion above could at least be tried with newspaper ads (again, assuming the CFC has a great influx of cash).

    Anyway, I'm glad there is still life in the server deal, and that in fact it is already being used by a wannabe CFC member, at the least.
    Last edited by Kevin Pacey; 09-03-2019 at 01:30 AM. Reason: Adding content
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladimir Drkulec View Post
    The question came up in the AGM about the idea that FIDE was going to give 60000 Euros to the CFC. It is not a totally outlandish idea as the discussion has come up though not in that particular amount....
    If we did get 60,000 Euros or $87,782.81 CAD from FIDE or some other source with the understanding that we should use it to advance chess in Canada, how would you spend it? Suppose you would get a similar amount every year from now into eternity. What projects should be undertaken?
    Something involving high-level training camps for Juniors.

    There are lots of variables here -- who is the lead trainer? where will the camps be held? how to select the qualifying players? etc. -- and no doubt there are several reasonable ways to answer each of these... but the basic idea would be to have one or two or three groups of top Canadian juniors meet with skilled trainers twice a few months apart (maybe at the start and end of the summer) and... see what happens.

    The amount of $ you mention would be enough to offset travel and hotel fees for holding camps in, for example, BC/Alberta and one in ONT/QC.

    At the end, the participants would submit confidential reports to the CFC exec about their opinion of how it went, and the trainer(s) would submit a confidential report to the CFC with their opinion about the effort and progress of each of the participants.


    Of course, there's lots to object to here, but I'd bet there are many former juniors who would have gained from having two intense week-long training sessions with a coach like Aagaard... even if only because it would push (some of) them decide to do something other than chess, while others would learn first-hand just how much work is required to really get good at chess.

  4. #14
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    The training camp does not necessarily have to be face to face. It could be a virtual training camp delivered via Skype and other enabling technologies. We actually talked to people and were shown the type of forms we would have to fill out so you would have to give objectives, and a list of projects, hoped for results and actual results vs. hoped for results so if the end result of the camps were more promising kids quitting chess there would not likely be a year two and year three of the program.

    At one point the CFC did such a project with Karpov Academies or some such but I'm not sure that there were any benefits or results as this was well before my time.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladimir Drkulec View Post
    The training camp does not necessarily have to be face to face. It could be a virtual training camp delivered via Skype
    Yes, and it would be much cheaper too.

    One benefit of getting the players together might be for building some camaraderie for future team events, including Olympiads.
    It might also make it easier for the camp to include other types of interactions that are harder to run on Skype -- e.g. consultation games between teams in a prepared opening, which was one of the things GM Gupta (?) did at a camp held in Ottawa in 2007, IIRC.


    Quote Originally Posted by Vladimir Drkulec View Post
    At one point the CFC did such a project with Karpov Academies or some such but I'm not sure that there were any benefits or results as this was well before my time.
    I've heard that rumour too... but only as a very expensive boondoggle for Karpov and associates, not as a benefit to juniors. Maybe someone with direct experience with the Karpov Academy thing in Toronto could tell us more...?

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Pacey View Post
    I see all that. One thing I'm still wondering about is, in a fantasy scenario (as in this present thread), if the CFC ever does get an influx of scads of cash each year, all of a sudden, why is it assumed that e.g. paid TV spot ads for the CFC would automatically fail?
    When an advertising spot on national tv costs $40,000 for 30 seconds and the cost of creating a professional commercial is probably into the hundreds of thousands you would have to double or likely triple the size of our membership with one thirty second ad in order to break even IF you could create this monstrously effective ad for free. Though its been a few years now, I took many marketing courses and have continued to read over the years but I am unaware of any ad capable of doing that. The lifestyle ads which you talk about elsewhere might be possible if we had millions of members already and could sustain them but the point is that you pay for views and the vast majority of the views come from people who are not in the market for what we are selling.

    There was a book series a few years ago called Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson. Its for small businesses who don't have a big marketing budget. This is our situation. We don't have hundreds of thousands of dollars to create an effective ad. An effective ad typically has a response rate of 2% of people in your target group. People are not watching as much television. I suspect that people who find time to play tournament chess are watching even less than the average person.



    Back at the dawn of TV advertising, people must have resolved simply to try advertising whatever their product was on TV, and simply hope for the best. Even though nowadays the CFC would have safer alternatives, taking a chance on a one-time TV spot just might pay off, or it might fail (and then the case would be proven).
    I don't think TV advertisers ever just advertised anything and everything. The formula for advertising success is simple. Every ad has to pay for itself in increased income not just revenue. If we spend $40,000 on an ad spot we have to get $40,001 back at least.

    Of course, the CFC should not do so if it cannot yet afford to lose the investment. In any case, free community TV spots might be available in some cities still. Still, I also cannot shake the feeling that there might be a certain lack of confidence in the ability of organized chess to sell itself in Canada, in a way that cannot outdo even a kid's cereal (which is a truly optional product, too).
    Everything is an optional product on some level.

    Perhaps any unexpected large annual influx of cash for the CFC might be best spent on somehow improving the CFC's infrastructure, such as hiring another staff member (if somehow useful), if I was to look at things as conservatively as I could.
    I think we have to streamline what can be streamlined. We don't have the office anymore so we don't really have any place to put staff. If we get money from government or FIDE, there will be conditions attached and it is unlikely in the case of FIDE that paying for staff will be an acceptable use of funds. In the case of the federal government they might look on it differently but I suspect most of the money will have to go into programs and tournaments.


    edit: Incidentally your initial reply to me, that included indicating that the CFC has had some sort of a server deal for a while now, was big news to me. I thought I was seeing things (as I am prone to do now and then), or that I somehow exasperated you to the point that you told a whopper to shake me off. I hope the CFC is making that FIDE server tidbit well known (though as I alluded to in other threads, I don't go to the CFC website, the FIDE website or even CT due to my fear of getting my aging laptop somehow infected, even if I'm being irrational about all that at this point in time).
    I don't tell whoppers. We went ahead with the deal because you and others wanted a server. We called for volunteers and no one answered the call. It was not possible for me to do it at the time. I was surprised to learn that the server deal is still intact but we still need to promote it and we need some volunteers to administer it though to put it on a list of priorities it is probably not even in the top ten list.

  7. #17
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    Hire a FST to train our Olympic teams.
    Introduce a real TD certification program with lectures and examinations.
    Have a professional review of our Constitution with the intent of making a new one.
    Help organisers who are facing deficits.
    Encourage growth of Canadian chess clubs
    Organise Canadian Club championship and Canadian team Championship.
    Organise IM norm tournaments and WGM norms tournaments.
    Bid on FIDE America other events (other then the NAYCC)
    Bid on FIDE events

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pierre Dénommée View Post
    Hire a FST to train our Olympic teams.
    That would certainly be a possibility. We would have to consult with our players. Also we might ask what happened in the past when we took that approach.

    Introduce a real TD certification program with lectures and examinations.
    There is already a program in place for FIDE and I am not sure that we want to create barriers for smaller events.

    Have a professional review of our Constitution with the intent of making a new one.
    Why? The amount of work, effort and cost involved is daunting. Once the new constitution is in place it will not make a bit of difference in moving us forward on our objectives to promote chess. Our volunteers are stretched thin now. I don't see any outcry to open this can of worms again unless and until the government forces us to, as happened when the NFP Act required us to go through the continuation process. We did it then because we had to do it in order to survive. I can't imagine going through that voluntarily.

    Help organisers who are facing deficits.
    The best way would be to help organizers before they face deficits. Hopefully in the new handbook we can incorporate best practices.


    Encourage growth of Canadian chess clubs
    Organise Canadian Club championship and Canadian team Championship.
    Organise IM norm tournaments and WGM norms tournaments.
    Bid on FIDE America other events (other then the NAYCC)
    Bid on FIDE events
    All of those should be on our radar even if we don't get large pots of money from FIDE or governments.

  9. #19
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    IIRC National Chess Week never even got to the point of asking for volunteers, it never really got past bickering over what dates would/wouldn't work for people. I haven't thought about it much as to what it might look like in more modern times, but the main goal was exposure of chess in general and the CFC in particular, and also see about getting some press with simultaneous simuls across the country - see just how many people we could get playing chess all at the same time. If it was during the school year (or especially during the school day) you could probably get a ridiculous number going - I could get 60 just at my own school.
    Christopher Mallon
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  10. #20
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    If doing such an event over the course of a week is too tight to schedule nationwide for comfort, perhaps doing a National Chess Month instead is an idea. Fwiw there are precedents for doing work for a cause over the course of an entire month, such as Movember (for men's health issues).
    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
    Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio.

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