Got something to sell on TV?
Shout it out!
American companies dispose of darn near anything on the tube by presenting effective commercials. A viewer can become heavy-headed on the Lite beer ads alone, if he survived being STPed to death.
Then there is the tender subject of betting, as in "pari-mutuel wagering." That is a no-no. Or at least it has been.
It has been deemed proper for a race track to advertise the sport it offers, but not the betting, even though betting on horses rarely has been associated with causing cancer.
"Come out and see another Secretariat in the making" is permissible. So are comparisons of the speed of the thoroughbred and the cheetah. But gambling? Never.
Mercifully the restrictions that have prevented tracks from talking about their tote tickets are being lifted --thanks to the state lotteries, where, as everybody knows, "You gotta play to win." Lotteries, as things turned out, ran some great interference for the horses.
"The NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) painted itself into a corner by liberalizing their approach to the treatment of lottery advertising," said Tom Aronson, executive assistant for Harness Tracks of America, yesterday.
"Now the NAB code has been changed to read exactly the same for racing as for the lotteries. This means TV and radio can go one of two ways. They can accept racing on the same basis as they have accepted the lottery, or they can play the flip-side, and cut back on the lotteries, which is doubtful."
Until the recent NAB change, racing was governed by an additional proviso not applied to the lotteries, one that limited ads to "institutional-type announcements which do not exhort the public to bet."
The NAB standard for both industries now states that "the lawful advertising of government organizations which conduct legalized lotteries, and the advertising of private or governmental organizations which conduct legalized betting on sporting contests are acceptable providing such advertising does not unduly exhort the public to bet."
The word "unduly" could post a problem, but at least the same ruling will be applied to both racing and the lottery. In view of all the political pressure that could be exerted on the NAB by states desperately in need of their lottery revenue, well, there is a feeling the NAB now will choke on its own racing restrictions of the recent past.
"In view of the latitude deemed acceptable by NAB code stations in accepting lottery advertising copy, it would take tortuous hypocrisy to deny tracks equal copy privileges under existing FCC and now NAB policy on the issue," HTA President Frederick Van Lennep told harness executives recently.
Now, finally, an advertising man employed by a race track is free to point his commercial in the right direction. In the case of Bowie, that would mean the promoting of "bucks" not "Brooks" (Robinson).
Brooksie can say all he wants in Bowie's current commercial about "big league" racing at the Prince George's track. Area fans know better. If they want to escape the minor circuit, they go to Belmont Park, Saratoga, Santa Anita, Hollywood Park or Hialeah.
The "local track now is free to stress the fans" chance to "Make a Bundle at Bowie." The Maryland lottery is even more blatant in it's ads, and the takeout on the lottery averages more than 50 percent, whereas at Bowie it is only 15 or 16 percent.