Why is DCI so unknown by almost everyone?


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Earlier this week at my work, we were asked what some of our favorite hobbies were. There were about 30ish of us in the room and as we went around the circle various answers were given like video games, football, basketball, running ect... It got to me and I said exercising and drum corps. Everyone looked at me with that "deer in the headlights" look and asked what drum corps was. They each said they had never heard of it and passed it off as some kind of "lame marching band thing".

Needless to say this saddened me to no end. I knew that drum corps was not very popular in america, but this kinda opened my eyes more to see just how little the activity is known. No one at my work (about 100 people) had ever even heard of the activity. It was so disheartening, to not only have all of these people not even know what the activity is, but then go on to say that it is just some "foot ball half time show lame thing".

I know DCI does not have loads of cash, and advertising is expensive but to me, DCI has changed my life and what I enjoy watching. Why does no one else even know about it? I feel that if more people could just be sat down and watch some of the best DCI shows in history they would become immediate fans and we would have more people coming to shows. More fans = more money. More money= more shows. More shows= More corps. Why doesnt DCI do more in the advertising department? Why is it still such a little known activity?! It seems that even swimming now is more understood and popular after the 2008 olympics than DCI is! (not dogging on swimming at all I love that sport) But this is just saddening.

What is up with this!?

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Briefly, here's why older America has forgotten about D&BC and why young America isn't familar with the concept: Before DCI and all its inbred elitism, there were hometown corps across most of Am

Marketing and promotion of this product is terrible. It has been so, for a long time. I thought DCI had turned a corner, with the ESPN contract 7 years ago. But that resulted in failure. Maybe DCI needs to go back to PBS, with hat in hand, and admit they were wrong. Or find a different broadcast sponsor. (Maybe convince one of the cable or satellite providers to give them some space, even on a pay-per-view basis? Some have suggested this as a replacement for the ESPN contract, but so far, nothing tangible has happened.)

Promotional strategies for this activity have been attrocious. Essentially, the burden of promotion has lied with the show promoters, and they are not up to the task. Most of them are the corps themselves, or non-profits. They do the best they can, but sadly, it is not enough.

DCI needs to invest in a whole new marketing and promotional program - and do it quickly, before time runs out.

Edited by oldschooldbc
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Not much of the general public knows DCI because they are not aware that it exists, and it's not their fault. The fact that DCI is a much smaller and more focused portion of the marching arts makes it less accessible to the public.

What do I mean? Well if you didn't do marching band or music, but you know someone who has, what are your chances of knowing about DCI? That's what I think....

The media also has a lot to do with it also. How many times do we hear about sports news? That's because it is more focused on the general public. The general public is more likely to talk about who beat the Redskins on Sunday, just because it's the way it is. Now....how often do we hear about news on the marching competition results from yesterday? Does the general public care about who beat the Blue Devils in Bloomington, IN?

To the general public, the Saints winning the Super Bowl means a lot more than Phantom Regiment beating BD by .025 on finals night 2008. And THAT means a big deal for us involved with DCI....

I believe that thanks to ESPN2 and Fathom Events, drum corps is slowly becoming more accessible to the general public, but it's not an easy process. There are some people who may not know what drum corps is, but at least they are informed that it exists.

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The media also has a lot to do with it also. How many times do we hear about sports news? That's because it is more focused on the general public. The general public is more likely to talk about who beat the Redskins on Sunday, just because it's the way it is. Now....how often do we hear about news on the marching competition results from yesterday? Does the general public care about who beat the Blue Devils in Bloomington, IN?

To the general public, the Saints winning the Super Bowl means a lot more than Phantom Regiment beating BD by .025 on finals night 2008. And THAT means a big deal for us involved with DCI....

you have to admit that sports are more interesting from a competitive standpoint... lots of NFL teams will come close or beat the best NFL team this season. How many people beat BD or came close in the last 2 years? None.

The competitive results of a drum corps show are almost always predetermined. The only way there will be movement is if you happen to get 2 corps next to each other. The Glassmen or Spirit (or whoever in the 10-15-ish range) is not going to play really well and beat the Cavaliers at a show.

Edited by soccerguy315
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It seems to me that the majority of the marketing goes toward recruitment. It used to be a requirement (at least in the now-defunct DCM) that a member corps had to host a local show. Despite the HUGE costs in doing so, I think this might help. Have you ever seen a semi-circle of horns or drums that DIDN'T draw a crowd? I also think that copyrighting a corps' music by DCI is a huge mistake. How much exposure does DCI gain by having Finals on PBS? Unfortunately, there will always be a certain part of the general population who will always just blow it off as "band geeks". It's the downside to the fact that you can't really understand what it's like to march until you actually do. How would you market a ballet or symphony to the masses? How about an opera? To many, these are seen as "highbrow" activities. Something that they simply do not understand.

Perhaps pushing the "youth activity" aspect in high schools and colleges (which is being successfully done in some areas). Maybe a "What did YOU do last summer?" essay contest sponsored in part by the nearest DCI affiliate? I'm sure there are many folks,who are much smarter than I am, who have a wealth of ideas about this. How about PSA's by now successful former MMs like Boys and Girls Club has done?

Musical tastes are VERY subjective. My tastes in music are rather eclectic, which I attribute to my exposure to a variety of musical styles in drum corps. Would so much Stan Kenton be in my mp3 collection if it weren't for my love of BD? Probably not. Same with classical due to Cadets and Phantom. Part of the drum corps experience is an education in music. I think that pushing THAT aspect actually hurts DCI as a whole because it could turn away potential fans because they don't play the "right" instrument or play no instrument at all.

I feel your pain. This is something that has bothered me since I first got involved in drum corps in the early 80's. I am willing to bet, however, that if you ask the "man on the street" in Madison, Wisconsin or any other town where a WC corps has been entrenched for decades about DCI that you'd receive a MUCH different response.

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Understanding and/or knowledge.

The masses dont know it and would not understand it anyways. Unless you have a music back ground, marched in school or knows someone who is involved in the activity, you just dont understand it nor do you give it a thought.

Go ahead, put it on at prime time on ESPN. See what the viewership numbers are. Pretty low. The general pubic just dosent care. But lest say DCI has a huge budget and can afford to market itself heavely. Still wouldnt get a ton of interest. The avarage person just dosent care nor do they understand the activity. Not do they care. The viewing public would not be able to tell you if BD was better then x-men or if the Cavies are better then Pioneer. It all really looks the same to the untrained eye. There is also not a lot of knowledge of the activity so the public dosent know and cant tell just how good many of the performers

are. To them its Marching Band.

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LOL you think the public knows, or cares, about the difference between the two?

Therein lies the problem

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