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What’s RPB’s strategy

What does Red Plastic Bag know about winning calypso competitions that many other calypsonians do not? Does he know how to capture pre-competition publicity better than any other performer?

Every year for the past several years as soon as Crop-Over season begins, RPB hits the media houses moaning and groaning about how he no longer has the feel for competing because of the pressure and demands of the festival, and on and on. Early in the season the calypso maestro, bombards almost every newspaper and radio station, making it known that it is less pressure and more fun to compete in the Sweet Soca competition.

In addition, he makes his yearly pronouncements on the direction Crop-Over should be heading, while admonishing young kaisonians about the art form. He has also become a sort of opinion leader and commentator. Last year he had a lengthy interview in the press — the same day of Soca Royale, with him ultimately winning the Sweet Soca title.

How often have we seen after declaring he is not competing or defending his crown he assesses the competition and keeps his posse in total suspense, then decides almost at the last minute that he will compete, citing that he is only doing it for his fans?

So, does RPB have a winning formula and strategy? Do the media help him to win? Is he better at gaining public endearment through publicity before competition? Could the judges be influenced by this and have a natural bias toward Bag on the day of competition?

The response to these questions could stimulate public debate as to whether other calypsonians are at a disadvantage. It is known in marketing in a competitive environment that the most visible product, using a medium which places that item in the forefront of the mind of consumers, is the one that is more likely to get the widest use and most sales — and win the most cars and crowns.

RPB can be considered one of the hardest working, most talented and smartest calypsonians in the entertainment industry. Recording top quality songs year after year to satisfy a salivating public and winning Pic-O-De-Crop titles 10 times over a 25-year career are by no means easy feats. He has demonstrated what is necessary to dominate calypso in Barbados and remain at the forefront of the business — even if he uses media publicity and plays on the emotions of adoring fans to achieve it.

— Carl Harper

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