A new $200 million land casino in Shelbyville, Indiana has agreed to pull an advert featuring a faux President Obama "out of respect for the White House," reports Fox News, MSNBC and The American Reporter this week.
The casino, which will employ 750 people when it opens Friday night, has been conducting a massive promotional and advertising campaign, part of which centred on the new American president, who achieved a remarkable turnaround in voting in the state during the presidential elections last year.
The advert was the brainchild of Dennis Gomes, CEO of gaming operations for casino developer The Cordish Company, and features a rear view of a lookalike Obama figure addressing a cheering, banner waving crowd. In a voice uncannily like the President's, the unnamed actor roars, Obama-style, "Hello, Indianapolis!" He continues, saying "Our time for change has come. Months ago, we began the work of making sure the new Indiana Live! Casino is superior to anything that existed in Indiana."
The image of the President talking on the ads is interspersed with Obama-like slogans in blue-and-white or animated graphics. They carry disclaimers that say, "This is a paid parody ad." The material was used in an expensive tv, radio, billboard and print campaign that has saturated the Indianapolis market for weeks, reports the American Reporter.
Generally, it flatters the President more than it parodies him. It picks up his positive economic message and links it to a popular if controversial American pastime in a way that probably leaves most viewers amused and perhaps hopeful, not angry.
A casino official said the faked message of "change" in the "presidential" speech played upon the casino's change from a temporary 75 000-sq.ft. facility to a new one three times larger.
Apparently the White House saw reports on the material which permeated the mainstream press, resulting in a presidential legal adviser, Karen Dunn, contacting the company responsible and informing its legal representatives: "White House policy is to disapprove uses of the President's name or image for the purpose of promoting commercial enterprises."
Company management then agreed to take the material off the air out of respect for the president. The story was widely carried in the United States, ensuring that the casino received a lot more bang for its advertising buck than it had anticipated.
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