Get Rich Quick Scheme #2
Lately, L. A. T. V. news has been covering highway car chases as they happen. This apparently grew out of the phenomenal numbers of people who watched O. J. Simpson fleeing police a few years ago. Since then any joker who decides he wants to run from the police has a good chance of getting his picture on television, live, for the duration of his fugitation. As being on T. V. is the goal of most people in L. A., there is no shortage of runaways.

Why people would want to watch this, I have no idea, but they do. In droves. Huge heaping gobs of people watch them. I'm sure there is some meaningful sociological point to be made here about how today's society or media is devoid of human drama, but that is a topic for another essay; today's point is one of these chases captures a huge T. V. audience.

My reaction is: "how can I make money from this stupid phenomenon?" There is no good reason that I have that thought, I just do. I'm one of those people who just has to figure out how to beat any system, even if I never implement it. Because I won't ever do it, I'm giving this one to you.

How do the T. V. stations make money on these chases? They sell advertising time, of course. It's only a matter of time before T. V. stations start selling "live car chase" ad time at unconscionable rates. (If you are a T. V. ad exec who decides to run with that, feel free to send me a cut.) But I have a way for you, the little guy, to get a much greater return on your investment.

Commercials are always going to be aired during lulls in the chase. Well, the chases are mostly lulls as far as I can tell, but less time is devoted to commercials than to coverage. Think what someone would pay for using that coverage time as a commercial.

Turning a chase into a commercial is pretty easy. All you need to do is to have someone in a convertible take off with a poster unfurled across the back seat that prominently displays the name of the the company paying for the ad time. If you prefer you could have the driver wear a jacket with the name of their product on the back, above the seat. The news helicopters will dutifully relay pictures featuring the free advertising to all three networks, delivering name recognition that is cheap at whatever exorbitant price you have gotten. Remember those Nike shoes on the Heaven's Gate members? People remember familiar products in unfamiliar situations.

There are some logistical issues. "Who will drive the car?," "will he confess under duress?" and similar issues spring to mind. None of these are real problems if you plan ahead.

First of all, commit only a minor offense, a traffic offense is best. Then, get onto the freeway quickly and maintain legal speed. All the news cares about is the chase. In fact, you may get better coverage as the reporters speculate on what you may have done.

Make sure to pay your driver enough to ensure his silence after the fact, and guarantee him excellent legal representation. You can afford it: you're selling prime advertising time on all three major networks.

The bottom line on all these legal issues is that you are conspiring to commit a traffic offense. What is the worst punishment that could entail? Especially with the representation you can afford?

The real problem is finding a buyer who will go along with the plan. The ideal buyer has deep enough pockets to pay your extravagant rates, a hunger for television advertising that will tempt them to hear you out, and flexible enough ethics to accept your offer.

You'll have to pick your own tobacco company to contact; I can't do it all.

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