Friday, March 09, 2012

There's Something About Half-Time Shots

There's something infinitely satisfying about watching some ordinary punter succeed in their half-time attempt to win X amount of dollars or a new car or whatever the prize might be by shooting a 3-pointer, scoring from the half-way line, getting a field-goal, slowly sliding an ice-hockey puck into the net. At first we are rooting for the John Everyman for this Willy Lowman we see ourselves in this poor gormless idiot (well I imagine the rest of you do) and then we are either amused by a particularly awful attempt, are ready to groan at a near-miss or are ready to go mental for the rare success. 

As a marketing ploy designed to momentarily catch our attention, it can't really lose no matter what the outcome for the sponsor and if it's a success all though they will have to spend more it has the chance of going viral and getting even more attention for the brand.

But what if we look at the small subset of all successes together what does it tell us about fairness in the cosmos. Case in point - 

Idiot somehow lands 3-point shot get $77,777... Dances around like an idiot... Then we see the way he threw the ball. Compared that to - 

Man gets a lay-up, a free throw, a three-pointer and a half-court shot to receive... a $3,000 voucher from a shop unfortunately named The Dump.

It seems to me there is a very tenuous relationship between effort, skill and reward in a lot of these cases. In the second case above The Dump clearly didn't want to pay out the $3,000 prize and tried to limit their pay out by requiring a large amount of skill. In the first case they tried to select an idiot to do something very difficult in order to limit their chances of paying out $77,777 but idiots can always surprise you.

Which leads us on to perhaps the ultimate half-time shot for £250,000

Really makes throwing a ball into a little basket seem a bit pathetic particularly...

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