Friday, May 30, 2008

False advertising

You have to hand it to Ed Lewi. The guy knows how to pitch one hell of a promotion. The long-time Saratoga Racecourse promoter snared three of four local dailies and the local-yocal television news cast to watch what will likely go down as the lamest trackside promotion since NYRA gave Funny Cide a granola and carrot cake “Rolex” last season.

The pitch was simple: Five brides in full wedding attire will “race to the altar” for the chance at winning a wedding ceremony in front of thousands of cheering fans at the track on Labor Day. And they’ll be on thoroughbreds too.

Undoubtedly, there was more than one editor who got this pitch and started thinking, ‘desperate brides on thundering thoroughbreds at the Saratoga Racecourse, where do we sign up?’ That’s the only explanation for why any news agency –much less four of them –would take the bait on this shameless promotion.

In truth, the “brides” were exercise riders and the “race to the altar” was really a cheap knock off of the Today Show’s kitschy appeal to teaming ranks of the American Idol-crazed reality television addicts. But the result was a mention on the Times Union blog, a B-section blow-up photo in The Daily Gazette, a spot on the Capital News 9 and a full-length article in the Saratogian. Way to go, Ed. You still know how to knock ‘em down.

The real “Race to the Altar” is a rather pathetic display of how people will do just about anything to get their mug on national television, even if it means turning their wedding plans into reality game show. For those wise enough to avoid watching the Today Show, this segment features five couples competing at various corny tasks for an opportunity to have the American public design their wedding down to the rings.

The winning couple is the one receiving the most online ‘votes’ from viewers. It’s the sort of video crack that is eating away at conscience of modern society, where everything is boiled down to a frenzied race and a mindless vote. The NYRA version will focus on the same basic tenants of the nationally televised edition. The only one big difference is that it won’t be televised.

This sort of drivel was exactly what the racecourse didn’t need. In fact, the racecourse doesn’t need anything. Simply maintaining the tradition that has kept the venue open for centuries is more than enough to fill the stands each summer, even sans the corny game-show promos.

Under their present line of market-driven thinking, NYRA might consider having a guy in Funny Cide costume and the finalists from this year’s Hooters Swimsuit Competition dance around the infield between races. Come on Ed, you know it’s tempting. After all, they have about as much to do with the sport of kings as the "Race to the Alter."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this event has Lewi's stamp -- are any ink droppings from Landry ??

Guess NYRA is looking for the future 'dropping' of kids attending the races, with their parents looking glassy eyed, saying, "we were married (or almost maried)at this this track."

Makes you want to have NYRA relocate the winning circle back on the track and hope for a muddy day.....

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are right and wise to avoid the nauseating TODAY show with its fake "journalists"

that ever annoying meridith viera and ann curry who makes millions but can't read a teleprompter to save her life.

not only is there not a shortage of americans willing to do anything to get their mugs on television but they go out of their way to embarass and humilitating themseleves!!

(remember the spiritially bankrupt FEAR FACTOR?)

Another gripe of mine is this country is so obsessed with anything having to do with getting married. All this "Race to the Alter" crap is just meaningless propaganda to manipulate Americans into thinking about things that are essentially meaningless.

Its all drivel. Its disgusting.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Jill McMahon said...

Roger that.

12:24 PM  
Blogger BlueDog said...

Cut the BS at the track. Certain things should be sacred and not sullied. It's bad enough that NYRA would like to pave over any dirt left there and install big video screens everywhere. Now they want to subject us to a Chuck Barris charade.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Faulkner said...

NYRA should take notes from the Chicago Cubs. Wrigley Field and the Saratoga Race Course both have the appeal of history and classic atmosphere as their main selling points. It's why the Cubs keep filling the seats even when they stink (which is for most of their history).

Throwing together a cheesy Bride Race or a Carrot Cake Rolex is a minor league stunt, and ultimately waters down the aura of what makes a venerable establishment venerable.

5:41 AM  
Anonymous agphoto said...

Everyone should just lighten up. This is entertainment, people. While i am all for preserving tradition, it should not be an albatross around the race course's neck. Both aspects can be well served; note the new entrance as an example of something modern that fits well into the overall scheme.

Was nathans and sparro's there in 1862? Bobble-head givaways, etc. To an extent history starts today, and that's just realistic.

And who among the testasterone-laden commenters are going to pledge that they want no part of Hooters when it shows up inevitably as a vendor? Not me-- oh, excuse me, sign my calendar honey please.

8:37 AM  

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