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Slot advertising11 March 2010
Somewhere on the Internet will be pictures of wondrously happy winning slot players holding monstrously large checks with big figures on them. You'll probably see tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and maybe even millions of dollars on these huge checks. Sometimes there will be a happy casino executive or two with a wide smile on his or her face helping to hold these outsized checks for the camera.
Of course, these cheerful pictures of these happy people and happy casino executives are furnished by the casinos' public relations departments and the casinos are swift in getting them out to countless newspapers and magazines. Why not? No advertising works as well as showing smiling winners holding their slot dreams in their hands.
Slot players want to see that it is possible to have their dreams fulfilled and these pictures do just that. They say to you, "You don't think you can win? Just take a look at Mr. Davis here or Mrs. Davenport there and see them smiling because they did win! They won a ton of money! That ton of money is out there waiting for you too!"
Nowhere in the accompanying words do the casino public relations writers mention that these few individuals had to overcome an immense magnitude of odds to get those big checks. Why spoil the dream? That would be like saying those few people in the television commercials who went on this diet and lost upwards of a hundred pounds actually are not like the 95% of the people out there who went on the same diet and a year later gained all their weight back . . . and then some.
Such practical thinking ruins everything. You can't have digital dreams in an analog set if you do that.
Slot advertising has to play up two things — the hope that you can win (maybe win BIG) and the fact that even if you lose your money, the playing of those machines is a sheer joy. Ads for slot play never show some forlorn person sitting at a machine with a miserable look on his face. They don't show a lady kicking a machine after losing thirty spins in a row. What kind of image would that be for readers to see?
Hey, car commercials want to sell sex, right? (Or is that sex commercials want to sell cars?) Buy this car and the most beautiful, sexy women on earth will be falling all over you. These commercials don't show a herd of wild ugly beasts tearing the guy's clothes off because he started driving this great new car. No man would buy the car if that were the result of such a purchase. He has enough beasts in his life already.
I remember once at Tropicana in Atlantic City I was in the bathroom, standing doing what a man must do, and right in front of me was a picture of a happy slot winner holding one of these outlandish checks. I looked above all the other porcelain urinals and sure enough, each one had the picture of some happy check-holding winner.
When you are doing what I was doing you have only two directions in which to look — especially if there are other men doing you-know-what next to you — you look down or up. You look up, the casino gives you a message, "When you finish big guy, play some slots and you might be in the picture holding the big check next time." If you look down . . . well, it isn't a very interesting or rewarding sight is it?
Of course, the straight magazine ads showing happy slot players aren't much different than the giant check pictures, except the real advertisement's colors are more vibrant, and the deliriously cheering people in the ads are no doubt from some casting agency. Certainly these happy, extremely good-looking people aren't regular folks selected randomly from the slot aisles. Who wants to see blue-haired grandma in some pumped up ad about the joys of slot playing? If she wins a big one in the casino, well, the public relations people will have to stick her in the giant check picture, but in paid advertising, as we say in Brooklyn, fuhgeddaboudit! Bring on the beauties!
Advertising sells dreams; it can't sell reality because we all have enough reality as it is in our lives. Also reality is free; we're inundated with it. Slot advertising isn't going to warn those big winners that every greedy relative and friend will be hitting them up for "loans" that will never be paid back. What fun is that?
The true irony here is that it is fun to have these giant-check dreams, as long as the dreams don't get out of hand. What's so wrong about looking at the folks in the giant-check pictures and letting your mind fantasize a little? Just don't take an equity loan against your house to play the machines because of such fantasizing.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
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