In January 2001, the D.C. Lottery approached The Kamber Group with the task of designing a launch campaign for an extension product – called “Power Play” – of the Multi-State Lottery Commission’s (MUSL) POWERBALL game. With only eight weeks until the product would be available, Kamber designed an extremely memorable graphic, which was incorporated on in-store point-of-sale (POS) materials, and posters to be placed in D.C. Metro stations, in bus shelters and on the sides of buses. The campaign also included a four-week flight on D.C. Metro-area radio stations. Consumers commented on the design of the print material and the unique radio ad, and sales met or exceeded the Lottery’s expectations throughout the duration of the advertising flight, and even beyond.
There were three primary challenges in executing this campaign. The first of these was that the product itself – Power Play – was not particularly attractive to POWERBALL players. For one additional dollar (POWERBALL tickets are one dollar each), players could select the Power Play option. If the player won any type of prize for that draw (other than the “Grand Prize”), his or her prize would be multiplied by the Power Play number, which was a randomly selected number between one and five.
Given the fact that the odds of winning the initial prize were already quite high, there was a high probability that players would spend an additional dollar and receive no benefit. However, there was a 1:1.2 chance that a player who won a prize and had selected the Power Play option would receive additional winnings. This is the message that Kamber’s advertising materials needed to emphasize – the possibility of winning even more!
Another challenge was the short time frame in which Kamber had to operate. In six weeks, the creative campaign had to be conceived, executed, and printed, and POS materials had to be distributed to Lottery retailers. Finally, the entire campaign had to be conducted for approximately $300,000. This automatically ruled out the possibility of television advertising, which would have consumed most of the budget.
After first meeting with members of the D.C. Lottery marketing staff, Kamber held an internal brainstorming campaign. Our objectives were clear:
Create graphic materials that grabbed consumer attention. (The Lottery already had numerous POWERBALL materials (which advertised the grand prize amount) throughout the city. The Power Play materials had to establish a clear connection with POWERBALL, but needed to stand out on their own.
Affect the greatest possible reach with the limited available budget. This meant also reaching potential customers in Maryland and Virginia, although the D.C. Lottery cannot advertise in Metro stations based in either Maryland or Virginia.
After presenting the client with different concepts, we chose the slogan “Power it Up!” and created dramatic materials (sample enclosed) which conveyed a sense of power, through depiction of a muscular arm, and proved to be extremely eye-catching.
Through evaluation of the available research, including profiles of existing POWERBALL players (we had determined this product would be most accepted by current players, as opposed to new players), we determined a radio/transit mix would be most effective in reaching our target audience. With a heavy emphasis on transit advertising, we knew the D.C. Lottery needed a simple design that consumers would be able to digest in a relatively short period of time. With the exception of the “how-to-play” guide (also enclosed), Kamber used the same basic design concept on all of the print materials, which we felt would enhance long-term recognition of the campaign and the Power Play product. All print products utilized bright, memorable colors.
For our complementary radio advertisement, we created a spoof of a popular “Saturday Night Live” skit, featuring two female body builders discussing the new product. This ad enabled us to use phrases associated with the “Power it Up!” message conveyed in our other materials.
The radio flight included a four-week split flight on nine different radio stations and the transit flight had a six-week duration; both radio and transit ads began a few days before the Power Play product was available in order to build interest and anticipation. This was clearly effective, as consumers began asking about the product before the initial sales date.
Approximately four weeks after the product launch, Lottery staff members conducted research concerning awareness of the Power Play product. The Lottery found that 60% of POWERBALL players were aware of the new feature, and approximately 14% had tired the Power Play option. By the second week of availability, Power Play sales had exceeded 4% of total POWERBALL sales, and the number continued to climb to over 5%. The D.C. Lottery had expected to achieve 5% of total sales as best. The D.C. Lottery’s Power Play sales also tracked well with other MUSL states that had launched Power Play at the same time, and had comparable budgets.
Since the initial advertising flight, there has been no more advertising for Power Play. Power Play sales have settled into a range of 2-3% of total POWERBALL sales.