GGC Preps Summer Push for New California Casino

The Rolling Hills Casino has yet to open, but it’s already taking aim at other Indian casinos as it readies a summer campaign from Gardner Geary Coll.

GGC in San Francisco won the account last October after a review that included crosstown shops Grant, Scott & Hurley and Leagas Delaney and undisclosed Oregon agencies.

Billings were initially estimated at $2 million, but spending may rise if the casino prospers. The casino, which will open in June or July, is operated by the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians and will include 650 slot machines and 12 gaming tables.

Chuck Galford, client director of marketing, said the California casino wanted to make a quick splash with its marketing. “We wanted ads that would help us stand out from other Indian casinos, and the agency helped us develop our own personality,” he said. “The ads create the perception that we’re different.”

The print ads emphasize Rolling Hills’ remote location off Interstate 5 near Corning, roughly halfway between Sacramento and Mount Shasta. They include the image of a single feather and the casino’s name. “More excitement than car bingo,” reads one. “Finally, something on I-5 worth pulling over for,” says another.

The ads also feature the Web address under the logo.

“The casino is right along the side of the highway,” said Daniel Katsin, GGC’s director of business development. “It is a total relief for travelers. There is this absolutely breathtaking beauty, and then there is this casino that is more upscale than the competition.”

The casino’s initial focus is on gaming, but the 65,000-square-foot facility hopes to evolve into a full-fledged entertainment complex. Galford said it is not being positioned as an alternative to Las Vegas, but the long-term objective is to be viewed as a destination resort. The initial marketing effort is designed to emphasize that Rolling Hills has a better location and more amenities than other Indian casinos.

The media mix may include broadcast ads in the coming months.

Rolling Hills is the first casino account for GGC. The agency’s other clients include Fireman’s Fund, Diamond of California, Delta Dental and Fisher-Price.