Agencies of all shapes and sizes are used to promoting brands or specific products. But what about entire tribes of people?
The Choctaw Nation is a federally recognized, “non-reservation-based” tribe comprising more than 223,000 Native Americans, a significant minority of whom live across 12 tribal districts across 10.5 counties in southeast Oklahoma.
The group, which has longstanding relationships with both the U.S. federal government and the state itself, also runs several area businesses including casinos, hotels and a group of gas stations. Its division of commerce picked The Richards Group of nearby Dallas to promote its business interests after a creative review.
The three new spots that debut this week attempt to familiarize area audiences with the Choctaw and everything they do.
As noted in the first spot above, the Choctaw’s businesses aren’t limited to legal gambling. And the revenue from these efforts sustains an entire community.
“[The Choctaw] are known primarily for the casinos they own,” said The Richards Group brand manager Rhonda Contreras, who added,“our goal is to create awareness for all of the businesses they own and operate to support their members and the people of the counties where they exist. To me it’s an unusual circumstance: we don’t usually think about creating a brand for a sovereign people.”
JT Steinert, copywriter at The Richards Group, classified the agency’s biggest challenge as “how do [we] show what a wonderful story these people have.” While developing the campaign, “we kept surprising ourselves with how much more they do … it quickly became a theme for us,” he said.
The Richards Group also aims to encourage both tribal members and non-members to do business with these companies. “You’re doing something larger than your immediate job,” said Contreras regarding the final spot in the series, which focuses on those 8,000 Oklahomans employed by one of the aforementioned Choctaw-run businesses.
Many Oklahoma residents simply don’t realize how active the Nation is, according to the creative brief.
“There’s lots of poverty in the area, but the things the Nation does help all residents, regardless of whether you are Choctaw,” said Contreras. “These days, people buy not just what you do, but why you do it.”
The agency spent several weeks working closely with members of the Nation itself to provide better insights into the way it operates.
“We had members of the Nation come out and audition, and they were great,” Steinert said. “They told us about their lives and stories … and provided glimpses into what they do every day. We learned about ceremonial dances and the traditional game of stickball. That’s a real team playing in the shot; you can’t fake that kind of love and passion.”
The Choctaw may even provide a rare, positive “meeting of cultures” tale in an increasingly divided country.
Beyond these TV spots, the campaign also includes out of home, radio, digital and print work. The Richards Group, which is also agency of record for the Choctaw casino business, plans to continue working on the account to promote the same message.
Client: Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
Agency: The Richards Group, Dallas
Campaign: “Together, We’re More”
Creative Directors: David Morring, Tim Tone
Copywriters: JT Steinert, Lauren Lakin
Art Director: Julius Prilianto, Amanda Jackson
Producer: David Rucker
Director: Ed McCulloch
Production: Tiny Hands
Post Production: 3008
Editor: Brent Herrington
Music: Asche & Spencer
Audio Mix: 3008, Matt Cimino
Clients: Erica Kosemund, Sarah Oro, Jill Euper
Brand Management: Rhonda Contreras, Tara Allison