Strategy & Marketing

“Self Reliance” – Native American Media Brilliance

Let’s talk a bit about the “Self-Reliance” campaign by Indian casinos across the country. If you’re from a state that doesn’t have them, then you won’t understand. But here in California, we’re inundated with TV commercials that don’t promote casinos or gambling – they promote Native American “self-reliance.” I’m all for self-reliance, and I’m all for Native Americans. But as a media strategist, I have to hand it to the creative person who came up with the idea of cloaking gambling in a positive moral attribute. You’re not losing money, your helping an entire race become self-reliant. From a marketing perspective, that’s genius. Moral hooey perhaps, but genius.

The statistics are pretty compelling that gambling isn’t the rosy picture the media and business says it is. In fact, numerous sources testify that it’s an addiction and it’s pretty devastating. Obviously, the casinos don’t agree, which is why they hide behind the “self-reliance” campaign. Besides, if gambling was such a good thing, why would they need self-reliance? Why wouldn’t they just spend millions talking about how great it is to lose your money?

It’s called “perception.” And hiding behind a shot of a poor Native American kid is the best way they can think of to keep the slot machines working…

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