Although happy that Indiana Live Casino is scuttling a series of ads that feature a look-alike of President Barack Obama, the White House on Wednesday disagreed with the casino's interpretation of the events that led to that decision.
The White House didn't specifically tell the Shelbyville casino to pull the ads, said spokeswoman Amy Brundage. But its lawyers did contact Indiana Live's parent, The Cordish Co., to say they didn't approve of the ads.
They told lawyers for Cordish about the White House's long-standing policy to "disapprove" of a president's likeness being used for commercial purposes, Brundage said. Indeed, the White House made similar statements about ads throughout the years, including a 1989 ad from cold-remedy maker Drixoral that featured then-President George H.W. Bush.
Indiana Live officials said they took the White House's complaints as a signal to pull the ads.
“The spokesman for the White House is technically correct,” Dennis Gomes, CEO of gaming operations for Cordish, said in an e-mail. “However, because of our respect for the president of the United States, the White House’s ‘disapproval’ of our (ad) campaign was the same to us as a request to pull the campaign.”
The ads, which began about a month ago on TV, radio and billboards and in print, feature an Obama impersonator promoting "change you can believe in."
The campaign was part of a flood of publicity ahead of the casino's opening of its new facility Friday.