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Let's Make Co-op Advertising A Reality - Here's the details.

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Paul Cascio, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. Framerguy

    Framerguy PFG, Picture Framing God

    Well Amy, I can only speak for myself and a very small number of others who have emailed me asking my opinion or wanting to know more about what is going to happen, I have been around here long enough to see similar projects suggested and a very few implemented to a point and they all crashed because of one thing or another. Lack of funding, lack of personal backing, bad presentation, and poor planning can all be attributed to ideas going South. As I have stated previously concerning Paul's endeavors, I was initially put off by all the mysterious hype with no substance and premature announcements which indicate to me that the project was sort of taking shape on the fly. That isn't something that I want to invest in unless it matures into a bonafide plan with backup and long term goals and a solid timeline. That may not be possible with Paul as he seems to like the close encounters of the mysterious kind and some of the players seem to enjoy the guessing and the anticipation of what is to come.

    I will wait awhile and see how this all shakes out before I come to any decisions pro or con about the plan at hand. The need is definitely there and the concept is good as I stated before, but the execution so far seems to be on a daily aggregrate of ideas not all of which were in the offing from the start. In other words, it looks like much of the plan is not in the plan as yet but is being added as different people come up with ideas that suit Paul's general thought processes and taste in things.

    The negative advertising suggestions, the many ideas from well meaning Grumblers that have been shot down before any discussion has been addressed, and other little hints and wording have my antennae waving in the wind looking for chinks and self serving attitude in this project. I will wait and see what happens. Experience tells me that many smarter men than I have tried and failed to bring attention to our trade but who knows, maybe Paul has a niche that nobody else has tried yet.
  2. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have seen a prototype commercial from Paul.

    There was nothing negative about it. It simply and quickly got the point across and overall was even a bit comical.

    There was nothing negative, no finger pointing and overall raised up the indy over the AOS guys.

    On the basis of the one prototype alone I was sold on indy framers and the concept.

    Can't wait for the dvd.

    Paul, sending out Kool aid packets with the dvd was great! I am feeling sleepy now ... I need to go la y d ow n wert[io[utrqwsdfgtert[ey[5s4s ......................
  3. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    JB, that DVD should be in your mailbox any day now. Enjoy it. I think you'll find that it includes a comprehensive explanation of the Join Together program.

    I look forward to hearing from eveyone. Please feel welcome to call or email me if you have any questions.


    Paul Cascio
  4. Kkastorf

    Kkastorf CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Sound idea

    This is a sound idea well worth exploring. I intend to. Karl
  5. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Paul, recieved my DVD the other day. Will be calling you in a few days to discuss the details before contacting and hopefully setting up viewing with other locals.
  6. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    Got it the other day.

    Was able to make if half way through before my 3 year old pulled it out for The Little Mermaid.

    That was OK, I was already thinking about who locally I need to call.

    I am going to put together a few questions and explore some other potential participants and will call you then.

    Thanks again Paul.

  7. TessaE

    TessaE CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Got mine too, called the cable company to see how big my area is, figured out about how many other shops in my area I needed to get involved, and how to get them as excited about this concept as I am.
  8. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Little Mermaid!

    I knew I was going to finish a distant 2nd to Spiderman 3, but I never considered the competition from The Little Mermaid. Actually, with the sunburn I got in Sarasota, I look a bit like Sebastian the crab.
  9. seido

    seido CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Got it!

    Got the DVD, didn't get the KoolAid, bummer!

    Where can I view the Prototype TVC??

  10. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    TV Commercial!

    Their are two prototypes on the DVD. You can watch them in content, or go to the extras, I believe it is selection 4.
  11. danny boy

    danny boy PFG, Picture Framing God

    mine arrived today. This evening after averything settles down will be a good time to 'check it out'.
    Thanks for everything Paul...
  12. Maryann

    Maryann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I finally had time this morning to watch the DVD. I think the program has promise.

    What I would propose however, is that the advertising framers have a screen at the end with their own frame shops and addresses whether it be one framer or ten, along with the webpage. I don't like the idea of trying to drive the consumer to a web page to see who you are. Not everyone will remember the website and take the time to look at it.

    Just my $.02
  13. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Maryann, that would be ideal if we can do that, but 30 seconds is short time, a 5-10 second tag would be uselss for this purpose.

    Trying to put that much text on the screen for even the full 30 seconds would be nothing more than a business card and provide no message and no viewer interest.

    Co-op ad programs just don't work that way, but eventually it may be possible to do something that addresses this to some degree. The key with co-op is frequency and selling the difference between indies and chains.

    Also, co-op is not designed to replace your private label advertising in its entirety.
  14. Maryann

    Maryann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    re: Co-op ad programs just don't work that way

    I disagree. In co-op advertising that we have done, we have been identified. But you are probably right that in a 30 second ad, 5 seconds would be meaningless - I didn't think of the time restraint. More coffee needed this morning..........
  15. Natalya Murphy

    Natalya Murphy CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Being the impatient type, I went right to the commercial prototypes when I got my DVD. The first one is OK... I guess. I really didn't care for the second one. I don't see what we're going to gain by implying that the AOS framers have no design skills -- that's the impression I got from the second ad. True, some folks behind the counter may be new at design, but they may also have some very experienced framers there. Regardless of experience level, I have to believe every AOS employee tries to do their best with design. I do not want to be associated with an ad that tries to raise us up by knocking the other guys down. For those framers that have relationships with the local AOS's, I think this could harm those relationships.

    At the PPFA convention, one of the keynote lunch speakers said that if you mention the competition in your ad, you're causing folks to look at the competition -- not necessarily a good thing.

    So, while I love the co-op advertising idea, I don't like the content of the proposed commercials. If there was a commercial that came out and listed our strengths without knocking down the AOS stores, I'd sign on in a heartbeat.
  16. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Disclaimer: Maryann, I am not addressing this to you in particular, just expressing my thoughts on how this program is designed to work

    My take on this:
    • If you are running an ad that features a particular Brand/Product, you would have room at the end of the spot to tag your company. For that you get some concession on cost.
    • The type of co-op among framers that Paul is suggesting, really doesn't lend itself to that. In order to get the message out to "shop a local independent framer" there just isn't room to tag that spot with all of the participants.
    • A screen shot that lists multiple logo's, names and addresses, phone #'s just would not work in the short amount of time.
    • The idea is to raise public awareness to, give us Independents a try.
    • Your own independent ads can tie into this message.
    • If a version of the same ad were/becomes available for each independent store to use, then it could be produced to give time to tag individual stores. Or possibly your "bug" could be placed on the screen during its run time. This is something though that each independent store would have to bear the whole cost on however.
    I have to honestly say that the name: RealCustomFramer and the tag line in the commercial are not my favorite. Despite that, I think the message that: "independent custom framers are not more expensive and that the consumer should give us a try" is worthwhile and that by banding together we have an opportunity to get that message out in our individual markets.

    Really we just have to decide if we want to participate or not. Is this the perfect program? Probably not. Will it evolve over time? Probably with positive input from those that want to participate.

    Does everyone have to agree 100% for it to still have benefit? Better to accomplish something, than nothing at all.
    (When my daughter took a tour of the U.N. a couple of weeks ago, she was surprised at the condition of the building. The tour guide mentioned that despite the obvious necessity for repairs/remodeling of the building, that nothing has been done since the time of construction, because the members cannot even agree what needs done, let alone how, when and how much, so they do nothing)
  17. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    To take this thought a step further, let's consider these scenarios.

    1. Ten Independents, ban together and run the ads that Paul is suggesting without individual tags, but promoting RealCustomFramer.com .
    2. Budget for above is $100.00 each per week for a total of $1,000.
    3. Second scenario, is that each of the ten framers spends $100. per week on the spot that allows for individual tags.
    4. Assume that the same # of spots can be purchased (probably not though since not buying in as large of quantity)
    5. With second scenario, do you see more exposure for your individual shop? Or confusion as to who is advertising.
    6. Scenario One, IMHO is going to work better, as it builds awareness to try an "independent" and they are more likely to remember one simple web address, than a myriad of different framers.
    :soapbox: now I'll get down, for a while.
  18. TessaE

    TessaE CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I agree with you jpaul. IMO what the people participating should then do is state that we are a real custom framer participant in their own ads (whatever form they may be) to help tie in to the tv commercials.
  19. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Exactly Tessa, participants in the program may use the RealCustomFramer logo in any advertising / signage / websites etc. as long as they continue to participate.

    Paul even mentioned that as the program takes off there would be window decals and possibly shirts, etc. Of course that all depends on if enough shops participate to make this work.
  20. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks to all for your interest in cooperative advertising. I want to clarify a few things and also offer a suggestion.

    First, let me point out that NO commercials have been made. What Natalya and other have seen was never intended for consumers.

    Also, with respect to names and websites:

    Realcustomframer.org is a website for independent framers to promote the Join Together Cooperative Advertising Program. It's not a consumer site.

    Realcustomframing.com will be the consumer site if the program is embraced and implemented.

    J. Paul is correct that participants can use the logo and will receive a window decal. Other items may be available if there is interest.

    Now a suggestion...

    My position is that our industry needs to begin pooling it's ad resources to get the benefit of leveraged co-op advertising. It seems there are many framers who agree with this need even if we don't agree on the exact implementation.

    Therefore, I suggest that everyone focus first on putting together groups of local framers in your area who agree in principal to the benefits of advertising with together. Then, as a group you can decide for yourselves how to implement it and what message to deliver.

    Group formation and advertising messages are two seperate issues and I believe they should be dealt with seperately, in that order, and on a local basis. Otherwise, the weight of the debate about the message can end up preventing groups from ever being formed.

    Once you've got a local group of framers who agree to advertise together, then you can decide to participate in my program, or develop your own. Either way, the need for cooperation is met.

    The DVD provides a business model based on local level group formation and participation. You are welcome to participate, reject it, or modify to meet the needs of your local framers in forming your own program. If you have the DVD, I would recommend watching all of it, not just the "commercials." Then, you'll be informed about what the program is really about.

    Then, find framers in your area who will agree, at least in principal, to advertising together. Within your group you can decide how to do it.

    If you have a group together and would like me to participate in a speakerphone Q&A session, I would be happy to do that. But to participate in the Reacustomframing advertising, groups must meet certain requirements, which are outlined on the DVD and on the Overview found on www.realcustomframer.org. In some areas this may not be possible.

    I'm a proponent of indie framers cooperatively advertising regardless of how they do it. My program offers what will be a turnkey solution, but is certainly not the only solution.
  21. Maryann

    Maryann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    I'm at the point of just asking questions, deciding if it will work for us. I think the program has promise, but we're in an area where I don't know if the coop advertising will work. We are presently doing cable TV now which is very affordable in our market and it is proving to be a great success. The ads are affordable - creating the ads is pretty expensive. I'd like to change our ad more often than I can afford to.

    But whether we participate or not ~ THANK YOU for doing this. I hope our industry will be stronger for it.
  22. nancyg

    nancyg CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    am I paranoid?

    One aspect that makes me uneasy about this mass marketing..........and I would love to have my fears asuaged... is this:

    An independent framer, for WHATEVER reason, does not participate in the program; and there they are, further marginalized!
    They're not a BB, (always on sale is still on sale) and not affiliated with the Real Custom Framers in the area. So who are they? It really feels like if you choose to remain 'independent' this this is just another way that the power of mass marketing , be it all-day, every-day sales, or giant advertising budgets works against some small, independent shops.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this

    Smile Away

  23. TessaE

    TessaE CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I know you were directing that question to Paul, but I thought I would chime in with my 2 cents anyhow.
    I feel that if this coop advertising is successful then it will have some spill over affect for indi framers who don't participate because it will bring more awareness to the services offered by the local framer therefore making an individual more likely to visit any framer in his/her area before a BB.
    For the greater good of the group type thing.
  24. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    My .02


    I think it would still help the non participating framer, just to a lesser extent.

    It is my guess that the commercials will raise awareness that there are still little guys out there and that the public doesn't have to go to the AOS stores.

    It may help them to a lesser extent if the viewer goes to the site and finds their competition and goes to them but just the commercial alone will try to steer the public to indy's instead of the big guys.

    Being concerned that this may bring too much attention to participating framers is even more reason to participate. Let the mass marketing work FOR you. Michaels isn't going to stop. You can stand by and hope for change or you can take pro active steps in your market to change things. If my neighbor or competition doesn't want in then it's their loss and if I get a bunch of new customers out of it, then I win. That is business and I want to still be here in 10 years when all I see is way more shops closing than I see opening.

    Overall, I think it will help more than hurt. (unless you are an AOS shop)

  25. nancyg

    nancyg CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    marketing , argh

    I really would like feed back from anyone. I look forward to seeing the
    DVD, .....maybe it's the 'Branding' .

    Bob, I definately see the benefits of getting on board, but just as you said " if the competition doesn't want in, it's their loss"......I hate that concept.....

    Anyway, just because I see a giant, overreaching, mass marketing cloud coming my way, doesn't mean I'm against it.really. Just there's something about having to get on board or sink...........but I would love to have my business grow, and I don't do much advertising now, and my web page is floundering, and I sure don't have any great marketing ideas......

    Am I rambling?:shrug:

    Smile away
  26. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Nancy, imagine this scenario also.
    What if another independent, your closest competitor, came up with some money and a campaign and began advertising. What would you do? Advertise more yourself, or sit back and do nothing and hope it didn't have a negative impact on you.

    If groups of framers get together so they can afford to advertise and build awareness and some decide not to participate, what is the difference? This is just an affordable way to do it. The ones that don't join together, may still benefit from some residual/or not! They may start their own campaign /or not. They may just sit there with there fingers crossed hoping things get better / or not!

    As Paul said in one of his latest posts, if they don't want to join together with RealCustomFramers.com and want to just get together locally and form there own co-op that is still better than doing nothing. The advantage of this co-op effort is shared cost of producing fresh spots on a regular basis with the cost spread out among a larger group. Disadvantage, not as much personal impute into that process as doing so in a smaller group. Advantage, not as much headache.
  27. nancyg

    nancyg CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    saving me from myself

    sigh, I would probably sit back and hope that my charm would see me through.

    Which is why I hope to be dragged kicking and screaming into the marketing/advertising slipstream.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Smile anyway

  28. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The other enemy...fuel prices

    Hi Nancy,

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I sense that you fear your business losing its identity, because of "branding," as you termed it.

    I tend to consider the Join Together program, and its Real Custom Framing advertising theme, to be more of an affiliation and alliance - You can be an individual while being part of a group.

    I believe such an alliance will add to your identity, not take from it. Also, your local framers may not want to be part of my program, but instead choose to start your own -the Central New York Framing Cooperative (forgive my geography errors), for example. Either way, the idea is to be able to generate much more advertising, hence awareness, enlightenement, sales, etc., than you would be able to do alone.

    Almost every indie framing business in our industry deals with the same obstacles today, including an economy that is putting, what would be, custom framing dollars into our prospective customers' gas tanks and oil tanks.

    The battle for discretionary purchasing dollars is, and will continue to, take a toll. If we don't join together to fight the competition for those dollars, we are all going to be facing a less than stellar future. Our window of opportunity is closing with each passing month. This isn't "Gloom and Doom," this is reality. We can read about it in our checkbooks and in our financial statements.

    I hope you and every indpendent framer in our industry gets involved in co-op advertising, and does it very soon.

    J.Paul's description was quite accurate in describing the difference between Join Together, a turnkey, managed program, and a self-managed/self-created program. Either way, working together is a virtual necessity in today's marketplace.

    Nancy, you also stated, "but I would love to have my business grow, and I don't do much advertising now, and my web page is floundering, and I sure don't have any great marketing ideas......"

    This describes the majority of our industry. It also makes you an ideal benficiary of co-op.

    What I find unique about you, and your uncommon candor, is that unlike some, you are obviously not simply seeking a free ride on the coat tails of others, but rather have emotional reasons for your trepidation. I understand, we are all attached to our business as if it were our child.

    I would suggest that first you watch the DVD in its entirety. Then, strike up a conversation with others in your area to see if there is interest. If there isn't, then unfortunately your concerns become a moot point; at least for now. If there is, then I have no doubt that your peers in the area will help convince you.
  29. Daughn

    Daughn Grumbler

    I recieved my DVD last week. Been a bit busy so I just got a chance to watch it. I found it to be informative and it brought up a few things I had not even thought about. I'm going to watch it again and write down some questions to ask paul. The commercials are funny. I wish we could use them. Oh well, anyway if you havent watched it yet, you should. Even if you dont agree, at least you'll have an informed opinion. Jusy my two cents :D
  30. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Few Questions!

    Ok Paul, here are a few questions for you. I was going to call and ask, but I think others might have the same Q's.

    1. Actual first 4 commercials have not yet been produced. From the time a group decides to do this, how much time is going to be needed to get these spots done?
    2. Without giving away what the proto types were, are the spots going to be on the same theme? If not, what theme?
    3. If I understood the info in the DVD correctly, participating groups would have to commit for a period of 120 days. Payment of $100. each per week, needs to be paid one week in advance.
    4. Are you personally collecting that money from each individual in the group?
    5. What happens when 1 individual is late with payment?
    6. Of course the rates for cable spots will be based on a 120 contract. You will be the holder of that contract?
    7. Will each member of the group have a contract with you?
    I am sure there are other questions that will come to mind. I wanted to get an answer to these though before I invite others to my shop for a viewing of DVD. Actually, I am thinking of making an oral presentation on the DVD and just showing them the highlights (as it is pretty long / re-piteous) and then doing a conference call with you.
  31. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The DVD is about an hour long and was shot during a live, first-time presentation of this material. It presents information, but it's certainly not big on entertainment value. The DVD is an available tool, but not the only way to present the concept to prospective participants. I would suggest you at least make full copies available.

    Also, to be fair, your group should examine the option to create and manage its own program. I want to see our segment of the industry begin to work together and pool their advertising resources to compete more effectively regardless he method they use. Co-op is long overdue in our indurtsy. The Join Together program offers a turnkey, managed solution to cooperative advertising, but it's certainly not the only option. I encourage groups to look at all of their options before making a decision.
  32. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have phonecalls out to other shops in my county.

    Is it a safe assumption that if they are in the same county they are in my advertising zone?

    I have a couple moulding reps asking around as well.

    I called my cable rep but have not heard back yet.

    Also have anyone from the Florida group that this idea was first presented to signed on yet? Just curious.

  33. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    JUNE 2007 PFM

    On page 22 of the June PFM / Industry News section an announcement for the "Join Together" Co-Op Ad Program is featured. Hopefully this will also help to get the word out to other independent shops who are not as much in the know as Grumblers are.

    I am writing my invitations now to other shops in my area, inviting them to get together for an after-hours presentation in my store. Will let you know how it go's.
  34. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Join Together Update

    Hi Everyone,

    Here's an update on the Join Together program. Vicki and I have mailed out over 150 DVDs at this point. We'll give away another 50 as promised, then there will be a nominal charge. The new postage rates more than doubled the cost of mailing to $1.38 each as a DVD mailer is now considered a "parcel." Go figure?

    Of course, you're welcome to make copies for distribution to other independent framers.

    So far, no groups have been established. I think this is going to be like trying to start a fire with flint and steel - it's going to take that one special spark to get ignition. I'm confident that eventually it will happen.

    JPaul has said he will push forward in his area and I've received many supportive emails. I'm also had an inquiry from a major supplier, who recognizes that the distributors' fortunes are tied to our success.

    Picture Framing Magazine just published a nice writeup about the program in thier June issue. Hopefully, Decor will also do its part. We really need our trade publications to step forward to help out with programs such as this that can benefit such a large portion of the industry.

    I've accepted an invitation to speak at another PPFA Chapter meeting and have had a couple of other inquiries. PPFA chapters offer groups of framers that have already formed a bond.

    Many PPFA chapters are looking to grow and cooperative advertising, such as provided by Join Together can be a great recruiting tool. It gives indie framers one more reason to get involved and it builds camaraderie.

    As I mentioned in my Sarasota presentation, I think the suppliers are a key component in getting the program moving. Their participation and promotional efforts are need for a grass roots movement such as Join Together.

    Eventually, like other industries who have faced the challenges that we face, a concerted response is needed. In the 70s and 80s, small real estate brokers responded to the challenges of large corporate firms. In the 90's the independent hardware stores found umbrellas such as True Value and Ace. Eventually, we will do the same.
  35. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God


    It has been a couple of weeks since I sent out letters to the other independent framers in my town. Not a single response.

    Invitation was for an after hours meet and greet and discussion of the "join together" program. This was a preliminary letter, simply inviting them to get in touch with me, and with sufficient interest that we would set up a mutually convenient time for everyone.

    I guess it will be an uphill battle. My LJ rep was in today and I shared the program with him. Hopefully he can talk it up and encourage them to at least go to www.realcustomframer.com or contact me for more information. I'm not giving up, but I am disappointed in these people.

    The good news is that my new LIFE Cable TV spot has been running for two weeks and is beginning to pull them in. "If you can't join em, do it by yourself."

    WOW! I just noticed that this thread had over 5,300 views. Now people just need to do it.
  36. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Join Together Update

    I agree John, and thanks for your efforts. I am surprised that for all the views this topic has had, and all the apparent interest, things have not materialized at the local level. Inertia continues to be the biggest obstacle.

    I knew it was an uphill battle, trying to get competitors to work together and advertise together for their common good, but I thought the benefits would be obvious enough make it a no-brainer.

    Amazingly, the one group of framers that has shown the most genuine interest AND a willingness to act, is the one group that I have excluded - franchisees.

    The FastFrame franchisees in particular, have been both enthusiatic and supportive despite their exclusion. They've even understood my concern that their participation would make the commericals appear to be a FastFrame ad and also, that my loyalty was to the independents.

    Franchisees recognize and appreciate the power of pooled advertising dollars. It's one of the benefits that motivated them to become part of a franchise.

    I'm considering a different strategy to help jumpstart things and will now also consider, on a market-by-market basis, groups with less than the previously required minimum percentage of participating businesses.

    Our's is the only industry I know of that has failed to respond as a group to the presence of large chain competition. This is not only dissapointing, but remarkable.

    As an industry, we really need to open our eyes and take some kind of action together if we are to grow and prosper. The PPFA, the trade magazine and our suppliers -- groups whose fortunes are tied to our success -- are the ones who should really be doing what you and I are attempting to do. Hopefully, if nothing else, we have raised awareness that will lead to action on thier part.

    I am going to continue to plug away and encourage you to do the same, but I also have to get back to minding my business. The offer I have made will remain on the table through the end of the year.

    I welcome any suggestion that others may have that could light a spark.

    Thanks to everyone for your ideas, encouragement and support.
  37. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    That's the most naive WOW I've seen in looong time. You must have done very poorly in your math classes if you got genuinely excited by that number. In reality that number is quite a BAD MARK and explains very well why Realcustomframing haven't taken off as yet.
    You must have counted on thousands of lurking framers who read this thread, but that's not only false but also very far from the truth. Let's use specifics and be more accurate for a change:

    This thread is 60 days long.
    A number of 31 grumblers had contributed a total of 136 posts
    Of those 136 posts and 31 participants only 6 have produced more than 3 posts and I consider them to be more interested in this project: Paul Cascio (42), J.Paul (23), Normandog (11), nancyg (7), Tessa E (5), Jerry Erwin (4).

    Paul Cascio signed 42 posts and presumably read all the other 94 signed by the other contributors. That means that Paul Cascio accounts for at least 136 hits out of those famous 5300 total hits.
    J. Paul signed 23 and must have read all the other 113 posts. Total 136 hits.
    Jb Normandog came in third with 11 contributions and probably read the other 125 posts, total 136 hits.
    Let's suppose every contributor to this thread had scored a total of 136 hits each. This is false, I know it; some had lost interest while others had never posted at this topic. I am responsible for about 10 hits, but let's keep it simple.
    31 contributors times 136 posts equal 4216 hits. With other words, 31 grumblers are in fact responsible for nearly 80% of the "WOW 5300 hits mark".

    See what I mean? There is nothing to be exesively happy over those 5300 hits. I wish you good luck. Hopefully this project will make a dent in this world but so far it haven't, and you must do much-much more to see it fly.
  38. RoboFramer

    RoboFramer PFG, Picture Framing God

    Hi Cornell,

    I may be wrong, but I think only your first view is registered - unless it works different from UK.

    Close the page after noting the amount of views, re-open it, repeat - it'll still be the same number of views for me.

    I've started topics while America is asleep and come back to them quite a few times without increasing the amount of views from just my initial one.

    I've even edited this post twice and the total views did not move.

    So - the true figures are, at time of posting a third edit - 5321 non contributors have read the topic, or some of it - 5458 views/137 posts - Wow!

    Last edited: Jun 23, 2007
  39. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hi John,

    I see your point. This is something The Framer may explain better than anybody else. I too noticed that TG counters are either slow or they update periodically (not in real time). The Counter shows currently 5488, which is more than 5300 J.Paul noticed two days ago; that seams fair enough to me. But you are right, I got off and imediately back on again and seen same count. You may also commit multiple postings in one session and the individual post count won't budge an iota. It eventually will, but not in real time, anyway. For instance, this is my post #555, but so was the precedent too, not to mention that Paul Cascio produced 3 laborious posts on this page alone without "improving" his 391st posts mark. This is strange. I expect a human to be forgetful but not a computer. Hopefully TG soft's author is not under contract with US Navy or Port Authority...
  40. RoboFramer

    RoboFramer PFG, Picture Framing God

    No, Nooooo!!!

    The 'precedent' would have been #554 - but your next post made your TOTAL - which is shown in all the posts you ever made - right back to the first one - 555.

    Post again - all your posts will read 556 - so all reading ANY of your posts, can see, that you have made 556 posts in total.

    It is real time.
  41. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    You're a real math whiz, Whynot. You got a Cray or something? Otherwise, that's some of the most convoluted logic, I've ever seen.

    However, for entertainment purposes, let's assume your calculations are accurate - what exactly have you concluded from your analysis?

    And what is the "much-much more" that you would suggest?
  42. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    I concluded that this project was kind of still nature so far (not to say still born). But I expect you to be the last one to agree with me. Those 5300 hits were in fact the foot prints of some 50 loyal grumblers browsing and posting on this thread.
    I personally don't believe in your project and wouldn't bet my money on it, which is not to say that I wish you to fail. However, in my opinion you need behind you at least 100 soldiers like J. Paul plus a bunch of those iconic TG characters that are keeping conspicuously silent on this topic before I concede that your project might have a chance to succeed and I am to opaque to see its merits and glorious future.
  43. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I take exception to numbers that you state as fact, but which really have no scientific basis. They are your opinion and nothing more.

    You are correct, I do need more people to get behind the program, but John and others have run into resistence even getting their foot in the door as many framers hold onto the view that other indies are their enemy. My feeling is that even if you hold that view, there are bigger enemies that require us to join together. I think supplier participation is a possible solution and that every supplier would love to see thier retailers advertise more often and more effectively.

    Also, it should be pointed out that you are a supplier, correct? I believe that getting involved with co-op makes good business sense for many of the suppliers of this industry, especially the ones who provide everyday materials to defined geographic areas. You are more of a specialty supplier, serving the entire industry, so this may not be suitable for you.

  44. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Cornel, I really don't want to get into an argument with you, and I was going to ignore your remark about my being naive and overly excited about 5000+ views of this thread. However because of the ongoing discussion of it, I decided that I just needed to speak up.

    You are the one being naive, if you think that I imagined that over 5000 individuals had viewed this thread (That would be great if it were true. How many independent framers are there in the US? I don't know, but seems like I remember a number of less than 20,000 and I could be wrong)

    All I was really pointing out was that indeed there was sustained interest in this thread. How many other recent threads have had that kind of activity? Not too many that I have observed.

    So thanks anyhow, because you comment has jump-started re-interest in this thread. Like they say in Hollywood, even bad publicity is better than no publicity. :smiley:
  45. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hey JP, I thought he was talking about me. Maybe I forgot to take my paranoia meds.
  46. Whynot

    Whynot SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    Do you genuinely think that without Paul's own 42 long, passionate posts/reports/ echoed by your 23 frantic replies/reports/ this thread would have survived for that long based solely on other grumblers being interested, hopeful and excited over its topic?
    I must admit though that Paul and you are unusually persistent in your uphill struggle for keeping this patient alive despite his clinic symptoms. However, that can't convert in traffic, support, enthusiasm, gold rush. I'll be the first to signal any change for the better as soon as I see one.
    By the way of “bad publicity is better than no publicity”, only out of sight bon vivants and poor actors benefit from bad publicity, why are you spinning the situation to appear better than it really is?
    I didn't intend to offer bad or good publicity but to temper what I thought to be your unfounded enthusiasm for the allegedly huge traffic this thread had stirred so far. I have noting to loose or gain if Paul’s project scores a home run. I am just trying to be accurate and tell things by their name, especially when I see people being wrong or indulging themselves in possibly hurtful attitudes. Incidentally, this compulsion of mine didn't make me more friends, so it mustn't be necessarily adopted by younger, yet unmarried people. :)
  47. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Why not analyze this!

    Here’s a brain teaser math puzzle for you Whynot. I found this on the internet. Break out your Casio and see if you can figure out the significance of these numbers. Here’s a hint: 17.

    If you give up, you can scroll down for the answer.


    Scroll down for answer.

    Answer: 17 (S-E-V-E-N-T-E-E-N) is the median number of views for the last 19 topics you initiated. WOW! I guess 5300 is not so pathetic afterall. :)

    And unlike you, I've backed up my numbers with hard facts. Just cut and paste the link below if you want the proof. Sorry Whynot, but you made me do it. :)


    P.S. Never tell a guy name Cascio that he sucks at math. It's not a good percentage play.
  48. Dermot.

    Dermot. In Corner

    Quieten down guys..........

    Cornell the reality is that the type of advertising that Paul is proposing does work..........we have in Europe one of the greatest examples worldwide of how it works............the SPAR group of retailers started out from the same type of base that Paul is suggesting back in 1947 or there abouts, it has grown to be the most successful retiling operation in Europe and possible the world and virtually every single shop is independently owned......

    There are many other examples particularly in Europe of what Paul is proposing..........successful examples can be found in retailing, car sales, property sales, courier businesses etc etc to name but a few......

    Cornell perhaps you would be taken more seriously if on occasions you contributed positively to a suggestion in the past your general modus of response to most business proposals has being very negative...........perhaps you should reflect on your business attitude a little more.........you come across as a very negative person which I do believe you are not.........

    Paul’s proposal is not that outrageous it is just some what of a new approach and way of thinking within the framing industry....in fact I believe that with the proper support and synergy it could prove to be one of the most successful things that the independent framing shops in the US could do.....
  49. Natalya Murphy

    Natalya Murphy CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    How is this going?

    I haven't seen much more about Paul's initiative since the flurry of postings over the summer, and the website doesn't look much different than it did before. What's the status of this initiative? Has anyone gotten enough local framers together to get some co-op advertising going?
  50. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Hi Natalya,

    I gave it my best shot, but it unless there is some catalytic event that rekindles interest, I've gone back to managing my own business.

    I still feel as strongly today that co-op advertising is one of the things the independent framing industry needs to help us compete more effectively against the AOS chain stores. However, unless a major supplier, manufacturer, the PPFA, and/or the trade press steps forward to play a central role, it probably won't happen. They are the only three entities that have direct channels of communication with every retail framer.

    I will continue to advocate, and be an agent for change in our industry. I will also still share my message and ideas when invited to do so. But I can no longer devote the time, capital and emotional commitment that Join Together required. Nonetheless, the framework for the program, including the websites jointogether.com, realcustomframing.org, and realcustomframing.com are still there for the industry to put to use, and I will make them available, along with any requested participation, to any qualified and committed entity that want to carry the torch.

    I truly hope that our industry somehow learns to work together more effectively to further its success in the future.
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