More on the Idaho Lottery

As noted in a previous post, I suspected that it wouldn’t be long before John Foster at the Idaho Business Review put the spotlight on es/drake and their work for the Idaho Lottery.

Today he did just that.

In reading his post, it really is quite humorous, and could very well be what happens behind closed doors in the hallowed halls of the Jefferson Place Building.

The comments, however, have not been quite so lighthearted. The folks over at Blueline, while speaking highly of the creative, don’t seem to be big fans of the overall strategy.

While I respect their opinions, I can help but notice that the comments have the tone of “what you’re doing is wrong” tone. Okay, fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But what do you suggest as an alternative?

Putting the money allocated to marketing back into the schools — not realistic.
The Idaho Department of Education has an annual budget of over $1,000,000,000 (yes, that’s $1 billion — with a B). Sure, you might be able to put a half a million dollars back into the budget by doing that, but last year alone there was $11,255,042.95 distributed to school districts within Idaho as a result of the Idaho Lottery. Sure, you’ll get your earned media with some PR about putting those budget dollars back into the schools, but that’s a one shot deal. There went all of your money for 15 minutes of fame. Then what?

Okay, so you’re not a lottery player. Think you don’t benefit from the revenue that the lottery brings in? Think again. If you have a child in school, you benefit. If you’ve stepped foot on a public university in Idaho, you’ve benefited. If you’d like to know more, check out the Where The Lottery Money Goes pamphlet on the Idaho Lottery’s website.

Bottom Line: Any lottery is a game of chance. A game is a source of entertainment. The Idaho Lottery is a brand that provides a variety of games, such as Powerball and scratch tickets. As the brand providing these games, I would expect the advertising to be entertaining as well. I find the spots that es/drake has done over the years to be very entertaining. And at the same time, they also provide a reminder about additional entertainment options, namely the games that are available for purchase.

Just my $.02 worth.

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3 Replies to “More on the Idaho Lottery”

  1. Brian, your comments are well taken. Having been one of the BlueLine folks that questioned the wisdom of Lottery advertising, I have to concede to your logic on this. Thanks for the enlightenment!

    Ironically, years ago when when I had my own PR agency I put together an earned media plan based on generating more awareness of the benefits of the lottery to Idaho’s schools. At the time, the Lottery was more interested in making this argument to the State Legislature, and I often wonder how willing the media would have been to reporting on how the Lottery benefited the schools in their communities vs. re referring me to an ad rep.

  2. I couldn’t disagree more. The Lottery is just the sort of product that advertising works great for:

    1) It’s established. You don’t have to use valuable ad time explaining what it is or how to do it.

    2) It is in a VERY competitive environment in terms of other companies seeking the same “entertainment dollar.”

    3) It has many infrequent users. There are A LOT of people who don’t play regularly and need reminding of how exciting it can be.

    4) It is a mass product. And mass products are well-versed for traditional advertising in terms of reach/frequency/ROI.

    I could go on…but overall, I think Drake does a good job with the spots. They get attention…and for a product like that that’s exactly what is needed.

    With all due respect — benefits to schools? Yawn. What about marketing 101: what’s in it for me?

    I do, however, think the team over at NXNW deserve much more credit than they get for those spots. I think they are a HUGE part of the creative team.

    And no, I don’t work for Drake. OR NXNW.

  3. I’m confused… “Anonymous” #2 disagrees, but then defends the ads? I thought you were in favor of the ads? Who is he/she disagreeing with?


    That half-million spent on ads, if simply given to schools, would almost certainly reduce the amount given to schools in the long run. That half-million spent on ads generated more than a half million in additional revenue — that’s the point of marketing.

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