Arnold Winks For Virginia Lottery

Likening its Virginia Lottery client to a television game show, The Arnold Agency is giving viewers a nudge and a Wink.
The Richmond, Va., agency recruited †bergame show host Wink Martindale (currently flashing his teeth and giving out money and parting gifts on cable’s Debt) to star in a series of TV commercials for Virginia’s Big Game.
“We were wondering how we could communicate big jackpot numbers for the Big Game,” said agency creative director Matt Smith. “Then it occurred to us that no one has ever looked at this from the perspective of it being a big game. Once we did that, Wink Martindale was the only way to go. Any actor we used would have been imitating Wink.”
Though the ersatz program has the usual brightly lit set, contestants and announcer, the enthusiastic Martindale quickly learns the only way to play the Big Game is to buy a play slip. No snappy banter with contestants, no buzzers and no lightning round. The star of the “show” is the current jackpot number.
Each spot ends with Martindale telling viewers: “This is no game show, but it’s a heck of a game!”
The commercials, which began this month, will be used anytime the Big Game jackpot tops the $20 million mark to generate more interest and additional ticket sales for the multi-state contest.
Smith said Martindale bought into the concept down to the cheesy game show host tuxedo he wears as he jogs out at the opening of every commercial. “We had a black [tux] for him to wear, but he brought his own,” Smith said. “It’s made from felt from a pool table.”
Campaign credits include creative director Smith, art director Terry Taylor, copywriters Scott Mackey and Rob Stewart, and agency producer Joe Pistorio. The director was Tim Reid of New Millennium in Petersburg, Va.