Mohegan Sun shifts from playful to aspirational in a new campaign that breaks on Saturday.
The push, which includes TV, print, outdoor, Web and radio ads and a new online "experience configurator," introduces the theme, "Time to shine." The faces in the ads—the first work from new lead creative shop People Ideas & Culture—reflect the casino's core target: thirtysomethings who crave memorable group experiences.
"The work really does elevate the tone quite a bit," says Domenico Vitale, founder of PI&C. "It makes it aspirational, but at the same time, very open for the masses. So, it's one of those brands that is democratic in its aspiration."
The configurator, which Mohegan Sun calls a "shine maker," will produce videos of suggested experiences, based on replies to questions about energy level, favorite activities and group size. Recipients, in turn, may share the videos with friends via social networking sites like Facebook. The Web tool was created by Profero, a digital shop that partners with PI&C.
Previous ads, from Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners, used the music from hit songs from the 1970s and 80s (Super Freak, My Sharona, etc.) as a platform for channeling brand messages. The last trace of that campaign is the tagline, "A world at play," which appears in the new ads.
"The previous campaign was very popular, but it was a little polarizing—some people loved it, some people didn't," said George Galinsky, vp of marketing communications at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. "Although we used humor in the past and we had a lot of fun with our campaigns in the past, this (new work) is truly about spending your time in special place and having special moments. And in that regard, we felt we needed to take it up a notch."
One spot, "Dancing Accountants," depicts a group of three women and two men who exuberantly eat dinner, play blackjack and cheer at a concert. It then cuts to reveal that the group met for the first time in a lobby 24 hours earlier. A second spot, "Double Zero," builds to an unlikely winning bounce of the white ball—in slow motion—at a roulette table.
The new ads will run in Mohegan Sun’s Northeast backyard through July and resume again in October, according to Galinsky. Media spending behind the initial push is estimated at $2.5 million. For the year, the company is expected to spend around $15 million.