Archives for posts with tag: advertising

I need to do a good long piece on the casino industry, but here’s a little introduction.

Get that winning feeling! promises this billboard. All casino billboards say the same thing, either explicitly or implicitly: come here to make money. But this is of course a lie. So why do we let them do it?

Though it’s possible you’ll walk out of the Eldorado richer than you walked in, this is unlikely. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll lose. That’s what a casino is: a place where you lose. The purpose of the casino is to take money from the customers and give it to the house. That’s why it was built. If people don’t lose more than they win, the casino can’t stay in business. The casino exists to take away your money. That’s what it’s for.

Isn’t it weird that casinos are allowed to lie so blatantly to the public? In other industries there is at least a token attempt to enforce some sort of truth in advertising. But with casinos (and state lotteries), the core proposition is perfectly false and everyone lets it go. “Come here to win!” No, that’s exactly the opposite of what’s going to happen.

Why do we let them get away with this?

Going through “security” this morning in the Denver airport I was even more disgusted than usual. Look at this phonepic.

This is one of those ugly plastic bins you have to put your stuff in so it can get “x-rayed.” At the bottom it has a glittering ad for The TSA are selling ad space on the bottom of those bins. Is there no high-traffic enterprise so sleazy, specious or destructive that it cannot find buyers for its captive eyeballs? Who is the amoral opportunist behind this nauseating innovation?

Someone will say: What exactly is wrong with this kind of advertising? Well, setting aside any concerns regarding the ethics of advertising generally, it’s wrong to advertise with the TSA because the TSA is a scam. Zappo’s advertising dollars support the TSA in its mission (otherwise, I think we can fairly assume, the TSA would not solicit such dollars). And this mission has nothing but negative value for the travelers who endure its effects and the taxpayers who fund it. Good organizations do not give money to bad organizations, neither in exchange for valuable goods nor for any other reason. It is unethical to support unethical institutions.

Zappo’s should not support the TSA, and we should not support Zappo’s.

This is not the place to make a detailed case for the fact that the “Transportation Security Adminstration” provides us no real security and we’d all be better off without it. This has been amply demonstrated elsewhere. Let me just remind you of three points.

  1. The TSA has never apprehended a single would-be terrorist.
  2. This is partly because the TSA’s procedures are inadequate to catch any reasonably determined terrorist.
  3. Most important: the TSA’s very existence is based on a lie. The international terrorist organizations from which it is supposedly trying to protect us do not exist. The primary and sole purpose of the TSA is to make this completely fictitious threat more credible.

Every year since 2001, we taxpayers and travelers have been wasting tens of billions of dollars and hundreds of millions of hours on this absurd, insidious charade. I call on Zappo’s to terminate their relationship with the TSA immediately and to issue a public apology. Only if they do this will I stop telling everyone I know not to shop there.

There are many other wonderful places to buy shoes online. These include DSW, Endless (an Amazon offshoot), Gotham City Online, Piperlime (part of the Gap/Banana Republic/Old Navy empire), and ShoeMetro.