Friday, April 14, 2023

The "Hello Bob" Controversy

 April 14, 2023

   When is an idea so out that it's in? Here's a current controversy in my world that just might prove the point, or, at least add fuel to the fire.

   We need new products for our store and so I sent out a few select emails to people who love Billy the Kid, asking them what new products they would like to see.

Dig Me!

   I received this suggestion for a T-Shirt idea from Down Under.

"Hello, Bob"

   "This would make a fine white T-shirt and coffee mug. Maybe jazz up the 'Hello Bob' a bit. I can see these two images side by side and wrapped around a coffee mug."

—James B. Mill

"Hello, Bob."

Deep In The Weeds

   This "Hello, Bob" refers to the alleged words Billy the Kid said to Bob Olinger, on April 28, 1881, just before the Kid pulled both triggers on Bob's own shotgun sending The Big Indian straight to hell.

   I personally think the idea rocks, but I am a bonafied-Kid Krazy-buy-anything-goonball and perhaps too close to the issue, so, I sent the idea to our art director and got this response:

"The 'Hello Bob' T-Shirt seems like a very limited market. Mainly just the guys that said they want one. And you really have to know that fact in his life to make it mean anything to anyone else."

—Dan The Man

    Hmmmm, while I appreciate and respect Dan's ignoramus view on this, I decided to get some of my Kid Krazy friends to weigh in and here is what they said.

"Really bad idea." 

—Paul Andrew Hutton

"Great idea. Yes, I'd buy one and I believe so would many others!  People really love that episode from the BTK story! I have been to Lincoln between 35-40 times.  I always stop by the courthouse and sometimes see someone standing at that window pretending to be pointing a gun and actually say, 'Hello, Bob'. My own brother did that."
—Chuck Usmar

"I am thinking Dan may be right.  Limited market.  Bob Olinger is not one of my favorites in the Billy story." 
—Lynda Sanchez

"I agree with your art director that it IS a small market.  But you could market it via your magazine if the price is right. I'd buy one for sure just to have it!  If you do small sizes I'd get one for each of my grandsons - start them out early on the Kid's trail (like what happened to you & me and look how WE turned out!)"
—Thom Ross

"I'm thinking that, like Dan, I'd constantly be explaining to folks what 'Hello, Bob' means. Perhaps some of your Kid Krazy friends would welcome that opportunity. Not me, so I likely wouldn't buy one -- unless I was planning to attend a future Olinger-Con."
—Mark Lee Gardner

"I agree with Dan the Man—except I'm not sure how many such folks are on facebook for example.  it could be a significant number.  I'm not sure where your break even point is, but I might chance it."
—Mark Boardman

"Hello Bob! I ALWAYS email you this way and it NEVER gets old for me! So funny!! Absolutely I would buy the t-shirt."
—Shelly Buffalo Calf

"Hello Bob! Yes! Where do I send the money!"
—Craig Schepp

So, will the deep-in-the-weeds, counter-intuitive T-Shirt design fly? Or, will it bomb because it's too inside? Or, will it sell to the inside crowd, at a trickle until it reaches critical mass and then break out and becomes universal?
   We are about to find out. 

"I am not a basket case Kid Krazy person, but it does help."
—Brushy Bell

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