as they did because they believed the favorites "always win" in harness
racing. "To the average person," the doctor wrote, "the excitement
of gambling is comprised of extremes: 'You make a killing' or 'You go home
broke.' Either result brings about 'satiety,' the feeling that you have had
your fill. Gambling loses in its appeal where the extreme element is
absent." The respondents also were "disturbed by a driver restraining
the horse on which their money is riding. The 'expert' may know that restraint
is part skillful driving, but the average spectator merely feels that the
driver is not 'all out to win' for him."
harness racing term standardbred fared poorly when compared with the word
Thoroughbred. In the word-association test, Thoroughbred evoked "Beautiful,
sleek, blue bloods, sired by the finest, best breeding, sport of kings,"
while standardbred meant "something inferior."
presented a "blueprint for action." First, facilitate identification.
"Immediate efforts should be devoted to building a positive image of the
Harness Racing patron.
Racing Fan should be portrayed as youthful, vigorous, masculine, fun-loving,
and slightly roguish. He should be city-bred (to counteract the 'country
bumpkin' identification), modern in outlook and appearance, but also
down-to-earth and an 'average guy.'
advertisements, utilize people 'having fun' rather than the horse and sulky....
Whenever the horse and sulky are portrayed, this should be done in such a way
as to suggest motion and speed. The driver should be shown leaning forward,
rather than in a sitting and upright position, to counteract the impression
that he is holding the horse back.
strongly masculine situations, such as a 'day off' with the 'fellows.' In such
advertisements, stress pleasant social situations and care-free feelings....
Advertisements portraying men and women should present the women as 'dates,'
'sweethearts,' and 'girl friends.'... The important thing is to dispel a man's
fear that his wife will nag him about his gambling and a woman's fear that,
instead of enjoying herself, she will worry about his losing too much.
Promotion and publicity directed at women alone, particularly any ad directed
at women, are likely to create undesirable effects. Harness Racing at present
suffers from a lack of strong masculine identification and such promotion may
reinforce this prejudice.... Even though this approach might seem to exclude
women, many of our studies have shown that women find any activity which is
supposedly for men twice as appealing."
The Los Angeles
tracks acted immediately. Ads showed the driver leaning forward. Clothing
designers whipped up styles that would turn wrinkled old men into virile
charioteers, and before long, presto, drivers appeared in snug jackets, trim,
close-fitting trousers and racing helmets (to convey the image of speed and
danger). In case the public missed the point, the Western Harness Racing
Association snapped up the most masculine model it could find, dressed him in
white pants and flashy boots and slapped his picture on billboards. In a series
of "get acquainted" ads, the association used 10 of its most
successful—and youngest—drivers. Youth took over in press releases. "If
26-year-old Jones wins a race, we write a release emphasizing his age,"
says a publicity man. "If an older guy wins, we don't mention the
Ads also spruced
up the fan. On billboards roguish young men and their dates leaped from their
seats at the track to exclaim, "It's Fun Time—Harness Racing." The
association dreamed up a snappy slogan: "Win, Place, What a Show."
There are too
many variables affecting attendance and handle to measure the value of Dr.
Dichter's report in dollars and cents, but the association is well pleased.
"He got us thinking," General Manager Pres Jenuine says. "He showed
us what other people thought of our operation and the thing we're
couldn't agree more. With satisfied clients like this., it's strictly
rooty-toot-toot at the institute.