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Ohio Lottery Introduces a Different Kind of Ad

Friday, August 8, 2014 at 5:40 AM

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Still image from Ohio Lottery ad.

You’ve seen a million of them, and most are pretty much the same. Lottery advertisements tend to be bright and loud and focus on the chance to win life-changing sums of money. But the Ohio Lottery has just introduced a very different kind of ad. ideastream’s Joanna Richards reports.

The ad campaign that began Aug. 1 promotes instant-win games. You know – those little cards with the silver coating that you scratch off with the side of a coin.

Those games offer instant gratification – the player finds out right away if he won. Instants have lower prize amounts but exponentially better odds than the mega-prize drawings. And the psychology that leads people to play them may be different.

“Just the chance to even dream for a few seconds just before they scratch off that ticket is winning for them – it’s fun for them,” said Glenda Terrell, head of the Ohio Lottery account at the Marcus Thomas ad agency in Cleveland. She said instant tickets now make up half of all lottery sales in Ohio.

Copy writer T.J. Prochaska said rather than highlighting the chance to win big, the new ads reflect the immediate pleasure of playing.

“We open up in a very niche kind of store that specializes in all types of Irish and raw wool sweaters...” he said, describing one of the TV ads.

A guy is shown seeking out itchy situations – in this case, a wool clothing store. He heads for the dressing room with a pile of sweaters, and emerges triumphantly, wearing all of them at once.

“So itchy!” he enthuses, scratching his back against a store mannequin.

“Get ready to scratch, with new instant games every month!” says a male announcer. The guy is now shown in a convenience store, preparing to scratch off a ticket.

Other TV ads show him in a swamp, attracting mosquitoes, and in the woods, diving into a poison ivy patch: off-beat, fun and, the lottery commission hopes, right on target for consumers.

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