WEST MEMPHIS, AR (abc24.com) - Featuring chainsaws, jail fights, and a stolen kidney if you gamble with "the other guy”, they're all part of the latest attack in the casino war between Tunica and Southland Greyhound Park. It has people talking; some call the commercials clever advertising and others say they go too far.
"All is fair in love and war, I mean it's a competitive industry,” said Southland Park Gaming & Racing General Manager Troy Keeping.
It’s a message Southland is driving home: if you take that extra drive to Tunica anything can happen so “don’t risk the road trip.”
One commercial shows a man getting chased by a chainsaw killer after his car breaks down on the way to Tunica. Another commercial depicts a guy getting beat up in jail after a police officer gave him a speeding ticket, the man was also on the way to Tunica. A third commercial shows a man in an ambulance and a big scar showing that he lost a kidney. He was also on his way to gamble in Tunica.
"You've got to stand out if you want to get people's attention,” said Keeping. “We realize that some people may not like them but some of the commercials that always stuck with me are sometimes the commercials that I don't like but I remember the brand."
Tunica Convention and Visitor's Bureau CEO Webster Franklin says competition is good but Southland may have crossed the line.
"I find it interesting that they can't show what makes them successful. They don't picture anything about they're property,” said Franklin over the phone. “I also think that it’s a shame they have not talked about themselves and I think everyone in the Memphis market understands that."
Those who've seen the commercials have mixed reactions.
"I liked it. At first I didn't know what it was. I thought it was a show or something. But the commercials were sort of mysterious, intriguing, you know, the way it started out,” said a Southland gambler Donnette Haliburton.
“Yeah it's catchy, like I said it's better than going south,” said another Southland fan Ellen San Juan.
But there are some who didn't like it, like Barbara Wilson Thompson. She wrote on Southland's Facebook page, “As much as I like Southland, the new commercials are awful! You've really stepped over the line on these."
These commercials come during a time when Tunica’s revenue is down. Don't think it's over - Southland plans to release more "eye grabbing" commercials in the next week.