Well, I don´t know about you, but the one thing that gets my goat is underhand marketing tricks that companies use these days to help you part with your cash. You know the ones- like fresh baking bread smells wafting down the aisles at supermarkets like Tescos, and stores designed to make you go around and around picking up stuff you didn´t realised you needed (IKEA springs to mind here).
How about Ryanair, and their habit of backloading all of the additional charges like offline check-in so that you see them AFTER you have spend 15 minutes fiddling around with their booking engine online timing out. grrrrrrr. (Incidently, I hear their competitors are thinking of running a “free incontinence pants promotion” at check-in in response to the recent Ryanair news on A Pound to Spend Your Penny.
“Buy a return to Prague & Fill Yer Pants For Free”.
Casinos, of course, are no strangers to this. If you have ever wondered about all the tricks that they use at a landbased casino to get you to gamble more, here they are! Forewarned is forearmed as they say…”
Let´s start with the atmosphere. Anyone who has been to Vegas will recognise the weird feeling you get as you enter- something that is difficult to put your finger on, but which aims to induce a trance-like state in the player. The terms they use in the industry are “spaces to make you feel euphoric, in a state of mind in which you want to stay where you are, loved up etc”. Let´s run through some of their favorite party tricks:
This is the famous one of course. The aim is to disorintate the customers so that you lose your sense of time and stay longer. No rushing off to the pool or restaurant on tour! The lack of daylight also helps with this- most casinos even now move the lighting up and down and simulate daylight at 4 am just to really throw you. The longer you play with no breaks, the better for the casinos! (This would be illegal in Britain).
Close your eyes in Vegas and you could be in a supermarket or shopping mall. The idea´s the same- spend spend spend! In the industry they talk about “getting back to the womb”. (Yes, really. I know- these casino marketing execs don´t get out much. They´re in a trance like state from their casinos). Check out the colours- they´ll be lots of reds and ambient non-stop music will be playing on a loop. (Think “medication time! in the Jack Nicholson classic- One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest).
Food and Beverages
As was so succinctly put in Hunter S. Thompsons “Fear and loathing in Las Vegas”, “Vegas loves a drunk”. Too right- if you are too pissed to speak, your bets will be humungous. You can be staggering through the door with your pants around your ankles and the bouncers will greet you like a long lost friend.
So in Vegas, good gamblers get free booze and tit bits- they don´t want you sloping off if you get hungry. If you are on a winning streak, you can be sure that a Vegas Dolly will appear at your side with another Martini to keep you playing. They are not going to win their money back if you aren´t at the table.
In Vegas, you´ll be breathing air that is super charged with oxygen. This helps you stay awake and play longer. Plus if you are on the sauce, you´ll get pissed quicker.
And it doesn´t stop there. Some casinos in Vegas use pheromones to encourage faster gambling.
I almost Won!
Watch out for this- casinos love danging carrots in front of players. If you´ve had a near miss on the mega jackpot, chances are that you´ll stick around to feed the machine. Also if the game makes you feel that your skill is contributing to the result (like skill shots on fruit machines), you get a feeling of control which will again nudge you into playing longer.
Well, they work for Tescos and they certainly work for casinos. With all the information about you stored on a central database, such as which slot machine you prefer, what you eat and drink, you´ll get tempting vouchers and coupons through the post for free meals, free limos, free entertainment, free drinks and free hotel suites.
So they you have it! If you know the tricks, you are less likely to be suckered in by them! Or just play online, and then you can wear a watch, open the window, turn the music off and play in your pants. (But then we would say that would´t we).