Wednesday, May 26, 2010

WMF Bob Kohler

This weeks failure is Bob Kohler Magic. Bob Kohler is a good magician and a good magic dealer. But when I read the "pitch" of Scott Alexander's "The Blades" I could not help but laugh out loud, or as the new terminology suggests: I lol'ed.

Briefly: 795.95$, that is 800$, in words: EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS for the good old razor blade routine. Shipping not included.

And here is how Bob Kohler justifies the price:
In our opinion "The Blades" is not expensive. It's an investment for "the few".

Okay, if "the few" are idiots who are unable to track down cheaper version of the trick.

But this version is special, you know:
What makes it unique is Scott's ability to get to the heart of the effect, designing the best method, weaving the presentation into a brilliant performance piece that gets big laughs and brings audiences to their feet night after night.

Let's see if I understood this correctly: 800 dollars for a unique presentation and a direct method. Ok, But do I want to perform it just like Scott Alexander? Wouldn't that be the road to not being unique? So if I am about to do my own presentation, doesn't that argument of getting a unique presentation fall apart? Just saying.

But there is a video to let me see the effect first, right? Can I see "The Blades"?
Short answer…you can't. Most magic products today are represented by video trailers that show the routine to both the prospective buyers and the public. We live in an era where magic is often sold through deceptive video editing and dishonest advertising. "The Blades" will not have a video trailer. In fact, none of our Pro Line releases have ever had a trailer. Our tradition and reputation insure that "The Blades" is what we present it to be. In fact as you read on you'll discover that it's our intention that no footage of "The Blades" will ever be seen.

True we live in an age were everything can be seen. We also live in an age of sales pitch bullshitting. Here is my theory: If we were to see the routine, we would instantly know the method and the presentation and would be able to copy it on the fly, turning the price asked for the routine (again 800 bucks) into a farce.

While I understand that this is a major problem in magic, I'd also say that hiding the routine is the wrong way too. In fact you would not buy a pig in a poke, would you?

Alright, but why is this a failure?

Well if you have a product that you wanna sell and you want a certain ammount of money for it, just ask for the money. Do not make a long statement, why the price is justfied. Because if you really take apart the arguments given, they all turn out to be bullshit.

Bob Kohler did so hard to write up a text to let people think they get a bargain, when they really don't. Which is true for pretty much all of his routines. You'll get quality, but it is way over priced.

So here is my little suggestion. Read the whole thing, then take a look somewhere else. And if you want to perform this classic effect, buy the routine somewhere else for about 25 bucks and start performing. You don't need the presentation of someone else. You don't need a unique method, as long as the one you would use is deceptive.

Scott Alexander's routine may be great, it maybe crap, we will never know. And since we will never know we should not care.

Bob Kohler writes:
These products are produced by professional magicians for professional magicians. Our target market is not amateurs or hobbyists but professional magicians who make their living performing magic.

I am a professional magician. I don't feel drawn to buy this thing. A professional strives to do his own thing. So a professional would read a book (the cheapest way to get the routine) and figure out how to adopt this to the own style, character and personality. He would also alter the method and use his own little way of doing it. In other words he would make the routine his own.

Basically, exactly the way Scott Alexander did.


Anonymous said...

To be fair its absolutely clear what you are buying here so I have no problem with this from Kohlers perspective.

Of course anyone who feels the need to pay $800 for a segment of somebody elses act needs to look long and hard at themselves.

Trickster said...

I'm with Mike and can't see why you would make Bob a WMF. Just because you don't like the price, doesn't change the fact that he can charge what ever he wants. If you think it's too much then don't buy it.

Not greatly surprising, this blog seems to have become more about attacking big names that the actual WMF's you used to have, you're certainly scraping the bottom of the barrel with this one.

PS. Do you actually not know what Vaunt means (english is your second language as you regularly point out) or do you not actually read Tim's blog? If you're looking for vaunt, that would be Cardmans blog where he constantly rants on about how great he is, where as a simple glance at Tim's blog would show lots of general topics and lots of promo stuff for other magicians.

darkstar said...

Yeahhhh. Cardman is always going off about how awesome he is.....actually no he, I mean I'm not an ego maniac at all. I most surely take pride in the past, and tell stories honestly, but the "I'm so awesome" is just your own translation. But who cares. Don't read that guys blog, he's all bloated with dellusions of grandure.

I actually read this as he's a failure in charging 800 for a typical blade routine. Many times he said "other than this blades" routine the man is pretty golden.

I can't speak for the man, but I feel that was his only point. Takes a special type of cat. Scratch that. It takes a typical kind of salesman that does magic to justify such nonsense.

Seems some really take the name of a blog too seriously. If it was called "This Weeks Magical Jeers", y'all would have read it the way did. The action in this case, not the man overall.

Seriously though. Don't read that kids blog. He's got a serious insecurity problem of self worth trying to impress other strangers online. That's quite obvious.

Salad Bowl said...

Didn't think the word "fail" had to be a philosophical term.
The bottom line is, the guy is charging $800 on a trick that you can get anywhere else for around $30. Just because the presentation is different doesn't mean I'm going to pay the extra $770 for it. This is what most people will call a scam.
The biggest fail here is the fact that Mr. Kohler will realize by the end of the year he has not sold shit.

Trickster said...

Continuing on the deliberately provocative line, is it possible that those stupid enough to pay $800 for this are therefor going to have less money to spend on other magic, there by decreasing the chance of them buying lots of other magic. Surely if they're stupid enough to pay $800 for this then they are to stupid to present magic in a good way and anything that restricts them delving into more magic is a good thing.

Intensely Magic said...

You're taking on one of the untouchables in Kohler. I've long felt his hyperbole goes well beyond reasonable salesmanship.

Some say caveat emptor, but I would suggest he owes more to his customers.

Todd said...

You were ahead of your time. These same talking points are being discussed on the big green weenie, with Brooks at the helm deleting negative comments and banning members who question the greatness of the almighty Kohler and thieving Grocki.

Otis said...

And that picture looks like he should have little things prying his eyes open whilst being forced to watch porn and violence and listen to Beethoven.

Ultimagic said...

Tim Ellis has a great version of the blades that he put out a few years back on his 'Ellis in wonderland' DVD. He now has a downloadable version he of the blades that you can pick up here:

How much you ask? $10.00. This is a great version of the blades. Just watch the demo vid. I picked it up and its dead easy and very safe. And yes, He was selling this as a download way before Kohler and Scott came out with their version. And as an added bonus, You don't have to sign a 10 page contract to buy Ellis' version. Which by the way is BETTER than Kohlers. Why is it better? Two reasons. It costs $800.00 less and you actually get to see the routine BEFORE you buy it.