Graveyard of tapes

Betamax vs VHS: The Forgotten War that Divided Families – Where Do You Stand?

I really can’t express how thankful I am for all the conversations around the topic discussed in last week’s blog. If you’re running behind and want to catch up with the ‘cool kids,’ you can read it here – The Sound Of The Soul. What’s Connecting Millions Of People? It shows that while we can agree or disagree on many topics, we are more alike than we are different. That’s clearer to me now, more than ever, after my weeklong experiment of people-watching on 80s VHSYouTube. Let’s continue down the road to unity by focusing on the topic of “Us vs Them.”

That’s right, we’re closing in on a time when team colors are worn with great pride, at least up to week seven, where flags fly high and proud until our team doesn’t have a chance for the post-season. Where Facebook timelines (kids, that’s Instagram for old folks) are filled with ‘funny’ not so clever memes, friends gather and take petty pot shots at each other over Publix wings and mac & cheese, both mainstays at southern tailgates. No, we aren’t talking MLB, MLS, WNBA—who cares about those things—we are talking college football season! Where you can cheer for your alma mater or the alma mater of someone you once knew, but no matter what, you love your team with or without a direct connection.

But, why? Why do we find ourselves so invested in the success or failure of 18- to 23-year-old young men? Because of the team colors or logos? Because our spouse likes them? No matter what, “Us vs Them” brings us all together.

While that is true of sports, how does that translate to marketing? Well, we are all aware of brands battling for fans.

There was the fierce ‘Cola Wars’ of the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, where many men and women, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, parents and children were forced to declare their allegiance to Coke or Pepsi. All the while, RC Cola sat on the sidelines and said, “What about me?” Who knows, but some families may have even stopped sharing Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, “mmm, I love green bean casserole,” but I digress, over the beverage options presented.

While it was never a declared ‘war,’ the ‘format war’ over consumer video cassettes and video cassette recorders also raged throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Who would have ever thought Betamax and Video Home System (VHS) formats would be so incredibly divisive? And isn’t it sad that there are thousands if not millions of poor Betamax and now VHS tapes collecting dust in boxes around the world.

Even today the never-ending battle of Mac vs PC rages on! There will always be those on the Mac side that declare Macs are created for the cool creator types. Meanwhile, PC fans pledge their love for PCs because they want devices that do things beneficial for society. Heck, it looks like the sides are so entrenched, that the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s may break bread, before these two sides know peace.

I wonder if you’re wondering whether I am writing this on a Mac or PC. Well, until you read that sentence, you probably weren’t wondering that at all. Instead, thanks to priming, you are now wondering if I am a Mac or PC person. That’s how priming works. But, I will just leave you with your wonder because that’s how the Zeigarnik Effect works.

So, the question is, how do we create a scenario where we can do an “Us vs Them” with our competitors to create our own “team” of passionate fans and external marketers?

First, figure out what sets you apart from your competition. Are you a ‘Purple Cow’ in a field of brown ones? Whether it is a unique product, service, or delivery method, OWN IT! Like your favorite t-shirt from college or your first rock concert.

Second, lean in to it! If you’re the kind of business that delivers on-site instead of remotely, really lean into it. Something like, “Our client-first relationship model lets our affable techs come and actually meet you. Imagine that! A true partner in this digital age.” Or if you charge by results versus by the hour, you might declare, “Hourly fees? Nope! Not with us. We believe your team should not have to seek permission or worry about spending money to access the support they need.”

Lastly, once you’ve honed in on what makes you, you and you are on full tilt mode, Be Consistent! Because consistency is the fastest lane to success. Heck, even Bill Gates said, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” But what does he know about success?

It is the combination of these three items that led me to develop my own marketing and life motto:

“The Difference Between Saying and Being is Doing!”

We can all say we want to be something, skinnier in my case, maybe a traveler in yours, but between being where you are at this very moment and where you want to be in the future is the doing something about it.

My hope is you’re a doer! Good luck out there, and if you ever need advice from someone who’s still trying to be skinnier, you know where to find me!

Till next time.


P.S. No one looks good in orange, except my wife. Go Noles!


    • Go Noles. I enjoyed this blog.

      Stephanie Casimiro
      • Thanks Stephanie. Looking forward to the Noles being the talk of the football world for positive reasons.

        Red Whiskey Team

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