Do Super Hot Challenge Videos Help or Hurt the Industry?

There has been so many pepper eating videos in the last year that I can’t keep up with them all. Some show intense suffering, which I will admit are sometimes really funny to watch. Others show some rare chileheads that can handle that type of super duper heat intake. After a while who really wants to see someone who can eat a pepper and handle it? Sure there has to be some chest pumping. It isn’t easy, I know believe me. I ate a dried ghost chile to start off my website over 2 years ago, but I made a comic bit out of it to make it entertaining. The Moruga Scorpion video I made in January 2012 tore me up and it showed. I was not proud in anyway that I did it at the time. Now that there is a study on the pepper, making it the hottest chile pepper in the world, I can say proudly, “been there, done that!”

For years, Tony aka Darth Naga from the UK and Neil Smith from the HippySeed Company from Australia shared a modest following from YouTube fans on their pain journeys. There just weren’t many people doing what they were doing, and now they are lost in the constant flooding of YouTube with more and more super hot challenges. Some people do not do much of anything on the video outside of chewing. One word: Boring! If there was still some entertainment value in watching these it is lost on the never ending quantity that our Facebook Chilehead group has seen these past few months. There are some small attempts at levity here and there, but when is enough enough?

Which brings to me the topic in the header above. Do these type of pain-inflicting videos help or hurt this industry? Let us look at the helping part first. People love to be entertained and a form of this is watching people suffer and if there is attention being drawn to this community, then as they say, “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” Well I will say whomever came out with that saying is an idiot. Of course there are endless cases where bad publicity turns people off. Yet, is burning on video turning people off or is it leading them to look into super hot chiles and spicy products made with them even more than before? One could say that if you Google these super hot trends people might find the source of the peppers, as Jim Duffy of Refining Fire Chiles can tell you, profit can be made by these videos.

Jim has gladly sent off his super hot chiles to garner the internet’s great Google friendly attention. People eat his peppers on their videos, they mention Jim’s website, and the people out there that want to find these chiles now have the information they need to get them some. It works, and he has reaped the benefits of these videos. The more people that eat his chiles the more Google searches will come up. The more people click on those videos, the more people that will find Jim, and order up some of his super hots. Plant season is upon us and Jim can’t wait to start sales again anew.

Are there more benefits to these videos for the spicy product makers out there? Perhaps there is. When the Butch T record was recognized by Guinness Book of World Records, Heartbreaking Dawns and CaJohn’s Flavor & Fire immediate impact last year was felt with some of their Trinidad Scorpion products, some of the only products that were in the marketplace at the time. If people hear about these peppers via these type of challenge videos, then some of these people might find these spicy products and purchase them. Good thing indeed.

There are many people that go to shows looking for the hottest thing out there. Extract sauces are what they usually find, but now with the attention of the super hots, people see the name, and the words “World’s Hottest Pepper” on the label or sign and want to try some. I have seen CaJohn’s Execution Station in action at these shows, and there are lines to get the pain from these extremely hot sauces. Flavor? Sure there is, but pain drives some of the diehards out there looking to show off what they can handle. Most quiver and run away to fight another day. Those that can handle the heat often purchase some to share with others. Defcon Sauces has made a living out of torturing people at the shows, and the Creator, John Dilley truly gets that any attention is good attention, and if people are coming to his booth for pain, then others might look and want to see what the fuss is about.
He was profiled a few years back on the Travel Channel just for that reason.

With all that I said above, do these type of videos hurt the fiery food industry? The rationale is this- if the people out there that fear spicy food see stunts like these videos, then that is all they will think when it comes to anything spicy. No matter what level that spiciness might achieve they develop a phobia to even try anything. They are afraid of the hurt they will get from it, and there is very little you can say to get them off this narrow minded belief. Much like racism, the chileheads are typecast as pain junkies. Forget any value around flavor, in their eyes we all seek the pain. If you have any friends or family like this, then you know how true it is.

How can we convince these people otherwise when someone makes a YouTube glorifying this pain? There are those of us that laugh like I said. I know I enjoy it to some degree. Then again there are most people that shake their heads at the stupidity of it all. How dare they ruin food with that evil stuff? Hot sauce might as well have the poison skull and crossbones symbol on every label. The Surgeon General needs a warning on there too because it will kill you if you have too much.

You can say what you want about how the videos attract more chileheads, but are we on an island to ourselves with a population that only grows within said isle? Is there a driving force to create new chileheads? I for one share my favorite products with my friends, co-workers and family, but once you have been burnt, you will have to work extra hard to convince them not to trust you again. I take a considered effort to give mild to medium products to the newbies, and warn when it is above that line of no return. I want them to enjoy what I do with the smallest of buzzes not to scare them away. With my Feast Your Eyes Cooking Spicy Cooking Contest I try to show people through our contestants that you can enjoy the food you always have loved with a little heat added to it. Food is not ruined as they are so quick to believe.

So do super hot challenge videos help or hurt the fiery products industry? What is your opinion, I would love to know? Thank you for your time.

82 thoughts on “Do Super Hot Challenge Videos Help or Hurt the Industry?

  • April 9, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    It doesn’t hurt the industry. I think too much of this controversy is sour grapes in one way or another. Make your videos. Have fun with it, but if your video is crap, and you put it out there for me to watch, I will tell you so. If it is good and entertaining, I want to see more….it is time for this conversation to close. And so we move on. I put an Easter Egg st the end of my Garbanero review on this site, have you seen it?

  • April 10, 2012 at 12:16 am

    Looking forward to doing it Jim! Been working on a few with some of the choc habs, 7 pots and yellow jolokia I have in the freezer.

    Al- I’ll send you a vid here soon on cooking with these bad boys… you can let me know if I need to “spice” up the content to make it more amusing for the masses.. you know; Getto Food Network style 😉

  • April 10, 2012 at 12:19 am

    I don’t think they hurt the industry at all I think a lot of people didn’t even know of ghost pepper or yellow 7 pod for example until these YouTube videos and stuff showed up so if anything I think it helped the industry by exposure .. btw the racist thing is the stupidest thing I ever heard in my life man..

  • April 10, 2012 at 12:20 am

    No sour grapes here! I like mine fermented…

  • April 10, 2012 at 2:09 am

    “Ted, I value your opinion, and again this post isn’t about you at all even if someone wants to use you as an example”

    Buddah it is about me just as much as its about anyone who makes those types of videos.You say you have seen only one of my videos therefore you dont relize that over half my videos are challenge videos.
    Briniging up other subjects like what happened in the past with some guy? please lets stick to this subject. Yeah maybe I will go to a show but thats not why im typing this its to say I disagree with you. I wish everyone luck in the videos they make. If someone wants to make a spicy cooking video MORE POWER TO THEM. If they want my help spreading the word I will do that.I make just as many challenge vid’s as I do reviews(and im not the best at reviews thats for sure )
    My point is this I am real popular and its not because I do good reviews its because I mix it up and throw in super hot challenge videos. Who is to say some of these new people wont break out and do the same thing. And its no secret I dont care for Firehead but I will say I agree with him 100% “Make your videos. Have fun with it, but if your video is crap, and you put it out there for me to watch, I will tell you so. If it is good and entertaining, I want to see more”

    anyways I have to go try to review something

  • April 10, 2012 at 4:25 am

    Ted, I have never let my ego interfere with anything I do here. I have tried to take a step back and do less reviews because it is not about me, it is about the company we do the reviews for. I have about 20 people working on my site with me, plus the community effort with the cooking contest you seem to see as boring, which promotes the chile community. I do not have a Facebook page dedicated to me nor a Twitter account. I do my best to promote everything in this industry I can- the shows, the companies, and the people. I spent over $500 this past year on an award for this industry, not to promote myself, it is to shine a light on this industry. I am proud of it, and I get to dedicate it for my late father who always found time to help other people that needed help. I love this community and I do what I can with the means I have to help others.

    I will repeat, this article was not about you. If you can’t let go of that idea, then I can not convince you otherwise. Congrats on your popular videos. If knocking other people and what they do makes you feel better, then all the power to you as well. I used the Lanza’s videos as an example because you joined the Chileheads group after him and did not see it. Him and his son made the same type of videos you made and he made a lot of them. Well before you showed up with yours, I was tired of watching them. I can see by the headline of what people post what kind of video it is. So that is why I do not watch them. Not because it is you, but because I do not get into watching them anymore. Ted, I wish you the very best with whatever you do.

  • April 10, 2012 at 4:31 am

    That is me, the stupidest guy saying the stupidest things.

  • April 10, 2012 at 4:39 am

    You can discuss any issue, and take both sides of the argument. Not everything can be examined with a microscope. I looked to my interaction with people both privately and publicly and decided from my discussions about these type of videos that I could explore the idea of putting a thread on here to discuss it further with the community. If the see-saw doesn’t teeter because it won’t budge from one side, then the discussion is more or less one-sided. It happens. I am happy to have had so many newbies come to the blog to lend to the discussion. Often it stays within the Chileheads group and doesn’t leave. Anyway, I am going to be late for work. Have a great day everyone.

    May the sun always shine on your solar panels!

  • April 10, 2012 at 5:10 am

    Now we want to talk about egos  lmao? It was directed towards me and anyone who makes those types of videos. .  Im not a member of chileheads I don’t care for the crowd anymore. I had someone add me I posted for a bit and then I split. Man I’m just one of the guys making videos and I think some of the other reviewers are upset (i know for a fact some are) because the videos they make get lost in all of the new ones.  I have a twitter,blog and my own personal Facebook. I guess that’s me having a ego ROTFLMAO. I can tell you this I’m helping the industry in my own way. You do it your way I do it my way. I don’t have a big website with people doing things for me. I do it myself and its not a piece of cake. Yeah I have a big opinion and I share it and I hope others do too. I speak my mind any time I like and if people don’t like it tough. I defend people and I argue that’s me Ted Barrus. 
    People send me stuff to review and I do my best to give the company a great video that a lot of people will watch ( spreading the product). I’m not trying to be the big shot with some ego I’m spreading the word of the industry. If people don’t like the videos they don’t need to watch them simple as that. Sorry if my honesty hurts but yeah I think it’s boring but it’s my opinion. Hey if I didn’t love the industry I would not be doing what I do.

  • April 10, 2012 at 5:56 am

    All I hear is me me me. Ted, I run this website by myself. Post almost everyday something, boring or not. I just have a bunch of people that respect me enough to do reviews for me. Except for Firehead helping me out on my last Cooking Challenge video because of computer problems, I get no further assistance. I extremely appreciate that people will do anything for me, reviews or otherwise. I have worked with other chile blogs to help out each other, and I would work with you if you needed me. I do not have an ax to grind as you might think. Ask around, people that know me, know I do nothing for myself here. Look at the posts. I might do a stupid spicy Wheat Thin type of video every now and then, but I try to make it fun. You do not have to like me nor respect me, and it is obvious you do not. Fine. I don’t care if you speak your mind. Go for it. That is what I put this post up for. I won’t go for attacks for another, but feel free to keep on being “honest”. I would hope you would. One of the first posts on this thread which you did not see was a post that pointed a finger at you. I edited out that comment, and made it clear to that person that I do not accept people attacking one another. It is my way of keeping the peace. Debate all you want, but keep in civil. That is all I ask out of everyone. You have done so, and I appreciate that. Other people might have flown off the handle, but you come at me with honesty, speaking from your heart. I can not shake you from your beliefs that you are the person that I wrote this article about, but setup a pollygraph test for me, and I will be happy to take it. How about this. I swear on my life that I did not do this here thread about you. Probably not enough, but it is all I got. I am done here, must get back to work. Have a nice day everyone.

  • April 10, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Actually the percentage of Ted VS Buddah using “I or Me” is almost even. Ted’s last post”29″ Buddah “40” but Buddah had a longer post.

  • April 10, 2012 at 8:53 am

    lol Thanks for keeping score HWL.

  • April 10, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Thanks for the shout out Teddy, the feeling is mutual.

  • April 10, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I see what you guys are saying, my wife caught me listening to James Taylor last night wearing nothing but a poblano Chile while rubbing myself in Trinidad oil, and I’m like “babe, I told you i wanted to do something more than just the same old video” how does that make me wrong?

  • April 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    I wanna see Al and Ted wrestle in Trinidad oil while Scott and Thomas do play by play and cook up a dish using Moruga Scorpion at the same time! Now that wil be the ultimate video. We will have superhots, cooking with a splash of slippery violence!

  • April 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Jim make it pepper spray and we have a deal. =)
    This is like trying to hammer a nail made from butter into a red hot piece of iron. done,done,done I raise my white flag……

  • April 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    The videos are out on the web for fun. I have encountered several newbies that were encourage to try super hots because they knew that if they failed epically then they were not alone. I myself was tempted to try super hots and have become addicted. The videos serve as a gate way. Sure some may be turned off by them but on the whole they would not be the ones who would be interested in viewing them in the first place.

  • April 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    I have also spent over $10,000 this year trying to promote the chilli industry on my page. It’s great fun. More companies out there should be putting their hands in their pockets and promoting.
    Ted we would love you to come to Australia and do a video with Neil Smith if you have a spare two weeks, I will pay your air fares and accommodation.

  • April 10, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    I have also spent over $10,000 this year trying to promote the chilli industry on my page. It’s great fun. More companies out there should be putting their hands in their pockets and promoting.
    Ted we would love you to come to Australia and do a video with Neil Smith if you have a spare two weeks, I will pay your air fares and accommodation.

  • April 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    Ted we would love you to come to Australia and do a video with Neil Smith if you have a spare two weeks, I will pay your air fares and accommodation.

  • April 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    I applaud your efforts Andrew. Great to see someone doing what they can do to push the industry forward. Keep up the great work.

  • April 11, 2012 at 12:39 am

    Just wondering why my post was removed from this site. ??? All that I really said was that I was inspired by Ted barrus and his videos to take my love for hot foods and make it a hobby… Did I offend you?? This is about a common interst to hot sauces and pepper right???? I also included my analogy about videos of people drinking high vol of alcohol, and the viewers still going to the bars and having a vodka drink… ???? Remember???? Was just checking to see if there was any input on what I wrote and my post is gone with the wind… this is about hot sauce and food vids right??? Just wondering if theres something I said that I shouldnt have to have my post deleted…. ???? Sorry guys, was just participating like everybody else was…. thanks 🙂

  • April 11, 2012 at 2:03 am

    I will speak to my wife as soon as I get home. We were planning a trip like that. =) Only problem is we 1st have to sell this house,buy the new one and then we can make some plans. I dont know about you paying for the whole thing but maybe we pay the flight and you take care of the accommodations.

  • April 11, 2012 at 6:17 am

    Hey Elliot, I am not sure why but this was into our spam box. I don’t see anything else though. I might have emptied out the spam filter yesterday without noticing your first post. For that I am sorry. The same issue happens when our reviewer Ken Alexander posts. All of his comments go right into spam box. My apologies.

  • May 8, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Buddah I learned a long time ago not to argue with this guy as it just keeps him coming back for more. Ted is who he is and in time his novelty, if you even want to call it that, will become boring to most and he will fade away. What you do is long term, classy, and actually adds value to the community. Keep up the good work!

  • May 9, 2012 at 8:59 am

    CG, I have had a lengthy dialogue with Ted since this debate, and I think we came out of it with a new appreciation for each other. Ted has a tremendous passion for the chile community and he has admirable goals to help it grow and give props to the companies and their products he falls in love with. He has a huge fanbase that was built up via his video challenges and through that he aims to bring more attention to our community as a whole. Which is a good thing.

  • May 12, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Al i love your passion. this is for sure a topic that would bring out lots of different opinions and were all just blessed we have the freedom to express them. Whether people being idiots will hurt the industry or not….i would feel thats much bigger then what were in control of. The only thing we are in control of is our attitudes , our egos & our passion for the game. its those out there that dont have control of those 3 things that are the ones that simply have no control. will they effect the industry? no , because as a consumer i want some hot sauce for my tacos. will they effect the people around them in the industry? absolutely…it creates bickering ,lies & jealousy. But ill say this what its brought to me is simple. The challenges are funny & entertaining to watch because other peoples pain is my pleasure & the reviews have made me want try the sauces that have good reviews. Anything more then that should never nessary because none of these videos we make & create PAY THE BILLS!

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