Golden Palace has been advertising its online casino on the backs of professional boxers for a few months now, and not surprisingly, the ads have attracted a lot of attention. They’ve also generated a lot of misguided idealism on the part of the casino.
This story began about six months ago when Golden Palace launched a new ad campaign that had professional boxers wearing large Henna temporary tattoos on their back reading “GoldenPalace.com.”
Since then, more than 20 boxers have received anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 to wear the logo. Has-been celebrities like Danny Bonaduce (The Partridge Family) and Todd Bridges (Diff’rent Strokes) even got in on the act during Fox TV’s overwhelmingly tasteless Celebrity Boxing special.
The ads take crass commercialism to a new level but Togel Singapore Golden Palace deserves some points for creativity, right? The Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) didn’t think so and tried to put the kibosh on the whole campaign. The commission banned the ads from all fights in the Silver State, arguing they were demeaning to the sport of boxing and distracting to judges.
Golden Palace didn’t take kindly to the ruling and came out of its corner swinging, claiming the NAC was trampling on its freedom of speech. The casino also argued that this was one way for small(er)-time boxers who have a limited career span to make a few extra bucks while they could still take a punch.
Golden Palace got a temporary court injunction on the ban, and in March, that injunction was made permanent. At the time, Eric Amgar, the promotions manager for Golden Palace, said, “It’s a victory for free speech, really. It’s a victory for boxers. Now they can make money for themselves with their own bodies. It also rewards companies like ours that come up with unique ways to advertise.”
Give me a break. Really.
The biggest problem I have with that statement is that Golden Palace isn’t fighting for the right to express itself. Pro-democracy protesters in China are fighting for the right to express themselves. Golden Palace is fighting for the right to plug the casino, and that’s not the same thing.
The notion that Golden Palace is championing free speech with these ads is a little absurd and somewhat disturbing. This whole thing is about driving traffic to the site, getting those visitors to download the software, and wager real money at the casino. In other words, it’s about making money.
The second thing I take issue with is the whole altruistic argument. This is an endorsement deal just like any other. The delivery medium is different, but the message is the same and Golden Palace shouldn’t pretend to be concerned about the future financial well being of these boxers. The casino is using (yes, using) them as a billboard to plug the site. Plain and simple.
There’s no denying that the ads work well for Golden Palace. They cost a lot less than regular television spots, GP’s exposure during a fight is measured in minutes rather than seconds, and the casino has an advertising monopoly during commercial-free pay-per-view events. The controversy surrounding the ads has also generated the kind of publicity that money just can’t buy.
At the end of the day, however, Golden Palace is little more than a digital-age Don King, cashing in while someone else gets the crap knocked out of them. The casino and its reps should stop pretending to be the injured party, stop saying they are trying to help boxers in the twilight of their career, and stop wrapping themselves in the First Amendment.
This type of marketing campaign is here to stay, and I for one could care less. But spare us the righteous indignation and the arguments about goodwill gestures; no one’s buying it.