OLG - Poker Lotto

Off to a Good Start (GOLD)

Client Credits: OLG
Wendy Montgomery - Vice President, Lottery Marketing
Adam Caughill - Sr. Marketing Manager, Regional Lottery
Jodie Bates - Advertising Manager
Melissa Caria - Brand Manager, Regional Lottery

Agency Credits: Due North Communications
Jill King - President
Karen Howe - Sr. Vice President, Creative Director
Shawn Wells - Associate Creative Director
David Gee - Associate Creative Director
Rob Nadler - Vice President, Group Account Director
John Pace - Account Director

Crossover Notes:
Crossover Notes: All winning cases contain lessons that cross over from one case to another. David Rutherford has been identifying these as Crossover Notes since CASSIES 1997. The full set for CASSIES 2012 can be downloaded from the Case Library section at www.cassies.ca

Crossover Note 2. Brand Truths.
Crossover Note 20. Emotional versus Rational.
Crossover Note 21. Likeability.
Crossover Note 23. Problem versus Solution.
Crossover Note 25. Brand Linkage (when should the brand name appear).
Crossover Note 30. Reach and Frequency versus Large-Space Impact.
Crossover Note 33. Changing the Target Audience.

To see creative, click on the links that are embedded in the case.


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):September 2010 - March 2011
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: September 6, 2010
Base Period as a Benchmark: N/A: the brand did not exist prior to Sept 2010

a) Overall Assessment
Remember London Life's Freedom 55? Nowadays, the notion of "Freedom 6/49" as a retirement fund seems more accurate than ever. Lotteries are being played by an aging group of people, and OLG's Lottotrack shows a decline in lotto sales among the 19-34 year old segment.

In the recent past, several lottos had been designed with the intention of drawing the 19-34 year old consumer back into playing the lottery, but none were successful.

For the most part, those who are attracted to lottery are divided into two groups: some play for massive payouts (jackpot chasers), and others play for the thrill of smaller but more frequent wins.

While lotteries are meant primarily for entertainment, and OLG would love to attract a younger demographic, the entertainment universe is cluttered and there is a lot of noise competing for young adults' minds, time and money.

Tapping into the massive trend that has attracted millions of young adults, OLG set out to launch Poker Lotto. This game was quite simple and was more "poker-themed" than "poker" itself. This could be just the lotto to get the more youthful non-lotto-playing target to try their luck at an OLG game.

b) Resulting Business Objectives
$37 million in sales between the September 7, 2010 launch and the end of the fiscal (March 31, 2011).

c) Annual Media Budget
$2 - $3 million

d) Geographic Area
Ontario only

a) Analysis and Insight
Poker seemed like a great way to attract twenty-somethings to OLG. Especially male twenty-somethings. Multiple television stations were airing weekly poker programming and viewership (young adults) was climbing rapidly. The programming became even more popular when sports legends and Hollywood stars began playing - and when the networks starting airing these games/tournaments.

In addition, "free" poker sites were exploding with participants. According to Christiansen Capital Advisors, online poker revenues grew from $82.7 million in 2001 to $2.4 billion in 2005. There was very little question that poker was no longer considered a taboo pastime.

Popularity aside, we learned in research however that interest in poker did not translate to poker skills. While poker playing grew nearly thirtyfold and televised poker viewing rose to more than ten percent of Canadian adults by 2011, many shared that watching the game is as far as they had gone - or wanted to go. They claimed to understand the basics of the game but admitted they had not played it. Nor did they really want to.

We took this group to research and tested out several theories and positioning strategies. Through this process we were able to discover the roadblock for most: intimidation. [Crossover Note 2] They were excited by the game and thought they would enjoy playing poker, however most respondents claimed they were too intimidated to play. The complexity of the hands. Other players. Money on the line. These all made them very uncomfortable.

Additionally, we recognized that "Twixters" (the new generation of young adults who understand they are no longer kids, but don't yet want to accept the responsibilities of adulthood) like to spend money. But they had shunned earlier OLG games when they realized that the "winnability" was quite poor.

Rather than fight their fear of poker, we decided to embrace it. We would create a campaign centered on just how intimidating poker could be. But not Poker Lotto. Poker Lotto was an exciting new game - with no intimidation at all.

At the same time, we would focus on the duality of the game. Poker Lotto allowed you to win instantly based on the hand that you were "dealt." And then you could win again in a draw that night if your cards matched the ones OLG pulled. With 1-in-3 odds, this would address their skepticism about winnability.

b) Communication Strategy
We wanted sell the excitement and winnability of the game. This would connect with Twixters and the overall target in an emotional and rational way. [Crossover Note 20]

Emotional = I have the confidence to play this exciting game
Rational = I have two chances to win money

We also knew that we had to convince them that our version of poker - Poker Lotto - allowed them to play the game without fear of intimidation. However, we were not talking to the poker "wannabe" as we originally thought we would be. We were making poker relevant and approachable for the average person. A much bigger task from where we started, but much more marketable. [Crossover Note 33]

a) Media Used
- a 30-second television spot
- two radio executions
- a Metro newspaper wrap
- rich online ads with an advergame built in
- nightclub ads
- convenience store "flash posters"

b) Creative Discussion
Insight came from understanding the difference between poker players and poker spectators. Poker players are chasing a dream and believe they have a degree of control over the game. Poker spectators recognize the uncertain variables and are intimidated.

Keep in mind that our objective was to get the masses to consider playing a game that was only currently played by enthusiasts. We needed to draw on the perceived benefits of poker (cool and exciting) while establishing very clearly that our version was completely void of intimidation.

The line, "Poker can be a little intimidating - Poker Lotto isn't" was born. On its own, this was effective, but not enough to break through the clutter. We needed to put intimidation in perspective.

We had to walk a fine line: We couldn't come right out and tell consumers that we understood their trepidation. That would require them to admit a weakness; something the experimental, spontaneous, individualistic Twixter would never do. What we could do, however, was exaggerate the point to make the message entertaining. [Crossover Notes 21 and 23]

First, we introduced the Kings: three shady characters, dressed up as the kings from playing cards (crowns and all), who look for any opportunity to intimidate you. In our launch television spot, the Kings pull up to a red light in a souped up '64 Plymouth Fury. Seeing some average guys in a nondescript car a King guns the Fury's engine and calls out, "Hey!" while all three Kings stare down the guys.

"Chill guys," says the driver nervously to his friends. "Just ignore them."

"Your mom called," the King continues. "She wants her car back." The Kings share a laugh and the back window rolls down as a King sneers at the guys, revealing a gold-capped tooth.

The image freezes as a super and voiceover come up explaining that poker can be a little intimidating. But not new Poker Lotto.

A demonstration of the lottery screen then pops up showing the lotto's gameplay, explaining that you can win up to $5,000 instantly and up to $100,000 in the nightly draw. The spot closes with the line, "New Poker Lotto. Raising the stakes on fun." [Crossover Note 25]

The TV spot was supported by two radio executions. Using theatre of the mind, we linked the television execution to faux radio newscasts alerting the public to the continuing random acts of intimidation in and around town.

A Metro newspaper wrap ran a few days after the launch of the campaign. This helped take the campaign from broadcast to print in a non-traditional manner. It featured the Kings with the line "GUILTY of poker intimidation" stamped across the page. The inside of the wrap then explained the ease of playing Poker Lotto and the benefit of having two ways to win.

One final creative element was a rich online advergame. Big box ads ran on select websites featuring a game where you were asked to box against the kings. You could throw left punches and right punches, but no matter how skilled you were, the Kings ended up beating you - badly. Once again, the message was that poker can be a little intimidating - but not new Poker Lotto.

All creative elements worked cohesively to tell the story in a fun, lighthearted way.

c) Media Discussion
While we were attempting to introduce Twixters to the lottery, we couldn't count on them to buy $39 million in Poker Lotto tickets. Our media strategy needed to be much broader, so it focused on options that would build rapid awareness, engage the viewer and drive them to purchase.

To reach Adults 18-49 (male skewed), we ran six weeks of TV and 1100 GRPs on conventional stations. Another 1,000 GRPs of radio ran on stations from Windsor to Ottawa and all points in between.

The Metro newspaper wrap had a GTA-based circulation of 320,000 and we used the large format wraps for impact the week of the launch, rather than use full page ads in the publication to generate frequency of the message. [Crossover Note 30]

Targeted online advertising, using sites such as globaltv.ca, ctv.ca, cineplex.ca and heavy.com, allowed us to appeal to the interests of the target. Flash posters in convenience stores also allowed us to reach the consumer when we could affect the purchase decision.

a) Sales/Share Results
Seven-month sales (from launch to end of fiscal) exceeded $118 million - more than tripling the $37 million objective.

This represented the largest over-achievement by a new OLG regional game launch in years, and made Poker Lotto the most successful regional lottery in OLG's 2010/11 portfolio.

Poker Lotto was such a tremendous success that the brand is now being launched in Quebec and British Columbia.

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

a) General Discussion
We can compare early sales of Poker Lotto in Ontario to early (to date) sales in Quebec and BC, as each province ran their own unique campaigns.

Sales of Poker Lotto in Ontario leapt to an average of $5.6 million per week in the brand's first month. Weekly sales in BC averaged $287K and in Quebecy $2.7 million.

The advertising certainly captured the target's attention. Advertising tracking in October 2010 (Dine & Associates) saw awareness of the television campaign reach 69%. This greatly exceeded OLG's norm of 44%.

The advertising was also helping to differentiate Poker Lotto. The same study indicated that 33% of respondents claimed the advertising showed how Poker Lotto was different from other lottery games. This, too, was considerably higher than the OLG norm of 25%.

Most importantly, the advertising delivered a 20% effectiveness in increasing the respondent's interest in the game, versus a norm of 17%.

Poker Lotto was a tremendous success and its popularity allowed OLG to lend the concept to other lottos across the country and around the world.

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels: The launch advertising budget for Poker Lotto was in line with, or even lower than, other regional lottery launches.

Pricing: Poker Lotto was launched as a $2.00 ticket and remains at this level to date with no discounting on the brand at all.

Distribution Changes: As OLG is limited in the distribution of its products to OLG retailers only, the distribution strategy for Poker Lotto was no different than for other regional brands.

Unusual Promotional Activity: Lottery is a highly regulated industry, and as such there was no discounting or high-value promotional activity.

Other Potential Causes: There are no other obvious influences on the sale of Poker Lotto tickets. If anything, the tight economy and the relatively recent launch of Lotto Max, with its massive jackpots, would have been considered factors that would eat into consumers' lotto spending budget.