Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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Class ended early - I've actually done some work since then. The instructor said that it was the "Thrilla in Manila" on HBO which started the industry to thinking about inserting ads into TV streams automatically. Thrilla was October 1, 1975 Manila time, but it was still the last day of September at HBO's HQ in the States.

I have my own ad insertion story about that fight.

The rest of the story:
In 1976 I was a Peace Corps volunteer assigned to the Rubber Research Center in Songkla, southern Thailand. I was part of a project to encourage rubber plantation owners to pull up all their existing trees and replace them with a new strain which produced 10x as much rubber. We had a slide-tape presentation which explained how this could be done relatively painlessly over an 8-year period, planting other crops (Thai chili, pineapple, etc.) between the rows of saplings, to give them a cash crop during the 7 years it takes for a tree to start producing rubber.

My boss hit on a great plan. He had videotaped the Thrilla in Manilla the previous year, all 14 rounds. We would drive our A/V truck out to provincial fairs, set up the TV atop the vehicle with speakers pointed to all compass points. We would play a round of the fight, a crowd would gather, then we would play one of our 15 slide-tape presentations. They were about 2-3 minutes long - long enough to make the point, short enough to hold the crowd. After each slide-tape snippet we played another round of the fight.

It worked like gangbusters. Today the southern provinces look a lot like the slide shows predicted they would.

The slide-tape shows were not all about the re-planting/intercropping project, some showed how to treat diseases of rubber trees, others were on the care and feeding of orchids (orchids are nasty rubber tree parasites, but most rubber plantation owners collect them and raise them for shows).

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