Behind the Scenes: SHOT Show Embargoes

As the 2015 SHOT Show nears (January 20-23), most manufacturers are carefully protecting information regarding new products. Can you say “product embargo?”

I’ve lost track of how many SHOT Shows I’ve attended in the past (nearly 20), but one practice that’s commonplace now that wasn’t during the good ol’ days (from what I remember) is being asked to sign a “Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement.” Or what we editors like to call a “product embargo.”

Simply stated, companies insist that we editors sign on the dotted line to ensure we don’t publish or discuss their trade secrets prior to a stipulated date. These secrets are almost always centered around a new product launch.

The image below is a smartphone pic of a Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement I received via email from Yamaha Motorsports. I signed the agreement and then emailed it back to them. Because I did so, I’ll be emailed specifics regarding Yamaha’s new products for 2015 prior to ever stepping foot on the SHOT Show floor.

Receiving this info early enables me to get a head-start on writing a web article about Yamaha’s new products, and it gives me a little bit of time to formulate questions about the products before meeting with Yamaha engineers.

My buddies (and hunt-crazy wife) occasionally ask me to spill the beans on what’s new from Company X or Business Y, but so far I’ve kept my word. Would the marketing team from Yamaha come after me with Navy warships if I slip up? Probably not. But keeping quiet is part of my job. I feel thankful to be working in this industry, and I’m not about to risk that by letting a secret slip.


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