It's not sexism, ladies. It's "just marketing"
After Liv Boeree, Annie Duke, and Vanessa Selbst all took down major tournament titles earlier this year, the Entities at Wicked Chops Poker proclaimed 2010 "The Year of the Woman" and in their latest podcast, they speak with two of the more prominent ladies in the game-- newly minted EPT champion Boeree and Lacey Jones, who seems to be filling her resume with more and more poker television hosting gigs every week. Their third guest, however, was Victory Poker CEO Dan Fleyshman. As you all know by now, I'm not too happy with their marketing campaign and Fleyshman responded to the criticism lobbied at him not only by myself, but several others in the poker blogosphere.
Here is Fleyshman's response, which comes around the 15-minute mark in Episode 3 of the Wicked Chops Podcast
"I was pretty shocked. I mean, like everybody uses models in their campaigns and I think I did a pretty classy job of it. I used Playboy Playmates and I also used traditional models as well, from different countries. But I also used guys. Like, you know what I did? I did like, a strip poker photo shoot last week-- the guys were the ones topless in a lot of the shots and the girls were the ones winning the game. So for everybody to say, like, I don't know, to feel sexist in a way is like, weird to me because my very first charity event, I donated money to breast cancer. I sponsor the LIPS poker tour. I'm sponsoring the womens' events. Like, I'm involved on both sides of this. So it's just marketing. Like, i have to do everything. I'm not just focusing on models and I'm not just focusing on guys. I'm trying to do everything. So it was very shocking. That's why, if you've noticed, on the internet I'm defending myself a lot because I'm not sexist."
Fleyshman goes on to talk about how he's spending every weekend teaching Playboy Playmate Sara Underwood how to play poker, which I'm sure is a huge personal sacrifice.
"It does feel weird to me, because we're so open-minded and we're so across the board so it's weird that so many people would feel we're sexist," Fleyshman said.
Sorry buddy, but any way you slice it, there's nothing "across the board" when it comes to those ads. "Across the board," at least in my interpretation, would mean appealing to a broad demographic. I don't see how any of the images currently put forth by Victory Poker appeal anyone other than young men who enjoy looking at photos of surgically enhanced models.
Victory Poker's message is pretty clear. And in my opinion, "but I donated money to breast cancer" and "it's just marketing" constitutes a pretty weak-sauce response. Instead of teaching Playmates how to play poker, how about sponsoring some professional female players instead? Concerned about "marketing" and "image" and don't want to have someone (gulp) unattractive in your ads? How about putting a drop-dead gorgeous woman like Christina Lindley, Maria Ho or Lauren Kling on your team instead of relying on provocatively dressed models to sell your product?
And I'm sorry Mr. Fleyshman, but you're wrong. Not everyone uses models. Bodog tried that circa 2005 (as some readers pointed out in the comments after my last post) and look at their market share today If you want to head down that road, well, that's where it ends.