Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rage Against the Machine

For the Super Bowl in 1984, Apple Computer released the commercial. The buzz was built-in because they pre-released how much it cost ($1M. When that number was considered much more than just 16% of a Mats Sundin per annum stipend), that they would only show it once, and they were introducing a product that (they said) would change the world. Not to mention, behind the scenes the rumour was that it was almost canned by some of the executive, adding to its lore. In the end, it was the most watched Super Bowl ad, and the lines to TV stations were jammed with people wondering what this ad was about, and what the hell a Macintosh was. It was buzz on steroids.

This ad worked for a number of reasons; on one level it succeeded because they had a villain. The man on the screen is IBM; the old, the boss, the controller of computing. Apple did something brilliant by responding quickly to them (and their vision of the future) by saying that a home computer can be fun, it is controlled by you and not a corporation, and it can fit not only in a large gray room, but in a backpack, too.

In racing we have not responded at all to the competition. I would argue we have a very good villain to take advantage of - casino gambling and online casinos. If you go there, you go there to get your head kicked-in and lose all your money. In fact, this is a mathematical certainty. In contrast, racing can be beaten and is a mind-puzzle for the ages.

Do me a favour: Rewatch the above commercial. Substitute the marching people with today's slot players, and the man on the screen for a greedy money-machine. When the screen explodes, the players are finally free to gamble using their minds, not their right arm.

Surely we have more to do to make this a winnable game, but it would be cool to try something to speak with one voice and get at the masses like this. If Apple can take on IBM, a business like racing should be able to take on a mind-numbing slot machine; maybe in exactly the same way.


Wind Gatherer said...

I think, Apple ran that commercial about a month earlier, at some film festival, so that it could enter at Cannes. Nobody really watched it.

It ended up winning whatever category it was.

The board did tell Jobs he couldn't run it during the Super Bowl and that he should recycle some old Mac II commercials. It was too late to change and they just ran the ad once...

Pull the Pocket said...

Thanks for the trivia gatherer. I get to learn stuff on this web-thing. Maybe it will catch on! :)

Anonymous said...

Who was the chick that threw the hammer?
Whether its 1954, 1984, 2004, or 2024...bottom line is sex sells.
Show me a commercial with Danica Patrick throwing a hammer through the infield jumbotron at WEG and you have my attention.
Of course she would be need to be wearing the same kinda outfit.
Do you know how many people checked out for their commercial. 90% of them didn't know how to use a computer, let alone what a domain name was...



Anonymous said...

Harness Racing's enemy isn't a slot room, casino or lottery. It is ITSELF. A horse wins a race pacing almost it's entire last 3/16ths of a mile OFF THE TRACK, then re-enters at the finish line a la Rosie Ruez and the result stands for 3 months?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
Horses regularly change barns and knock 2 or 3 or 4 seconds off their life's best in the first start in new hands and nothing is said? It is so commonplace now, it almost goes unnoticed. WAKE UP! The real enemy is thyself, and the reason the general public isnn't interested is because most people think harness racing is fixed by a bunch of crooks.

Pull the Pocket said...

Rosie Ruiz and the Godaddy girl in two comments. Cool!

I guess I neglected to mention in this piece, this is of course for areas that do not have slot machines. For areas that do it would be called biting the hand that feeds you, like that alligator special I watched last night on Discovery. All them alligators tried to eat the nice people that were giving them chicken. :)

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