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Casino Spots Take Inside Look

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Supreme Court Ruling Frees CL to Show Gamblers in Action
CHICAGO--Carmichael Lynch goes inside the casino for the first time in a national branding campaign for Harrah's Entertainment.
TV spots breaking Feb. 23 in select markets take advantage of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows casino ads to show people gambling, said Gina Signorella, an account director at the Minneapolis agency.
Previous advertising for the Las Vegas company played up the anticipation of heading to the casino, she said. The ruling makes it easier for Harrah's to position itself as a place for avid gamblers, as opposed to a family-oriented resort, she said.
"Harrah's uniqueness is that it's a gambling place," Signorella said. "It's been a challenge to sell that without being able to show it."
In June 1999, the Supreme Court struck down the federal government's ban on depicting gambling in TV and radio advertising, writing that the law was "pierced by exemptions and inconsistencies." The ruling explicitly applies to the states where private and Indian casinos are currently legal.
A spot breaking in Chicago and northern Indiana for the Majestic Star Casino in Gary, Ind., created by Ebel Dunnell Merrick in Chicago, also takes adbantage of the ruling.
"Every second of that ad shows gaming, said Jef Bauer, Majestic's senior director of marketing.
Like the Majestic work, Harrah's new campaign takes full advantage of the ruling by showing people playing at crap tables and slot machines. The black-and-white spots use fast motion and stop motion to highlight the excitement of playing, said group creative director Tom Moudry.
The campaign breaks during the Grammy Awards ceremony Feb. 23 in 13 major markets, including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Houston. No print component is planned.
Harrah's spent nearly $12 million on TV advertising in the first 10 months of last year. The company is expected to spend a similar amount this year, Signorella said. K