Grey Uses Quiet Humor for Lotto

Long before a congressional panel released recommendations for gambling ads two weeks ago, Grey Advertising was developing a campaign for the New York State Lottery’s Lotto game that already followed at least one of them.
The radio, outdoor and TV spots, which break in 10 in-state media markets on June 16, don’t tout instant success or the joy of gambling, said Richard Mahan, senior creative director for Grey here.
Instead, they focus on the quiet hopes of Lotto players. The first TV spot shows a man at home using cassette tapes to practice Italian. He looks at a world map in which various countries have been crossed out and marks off Italy. When the man sits back down, he tries another tape that begins, “Hello. Guten tag.” The new tagline is, “New York Lotto. Will you be ready if it happens to you?”
A second spot shows a man in his backyard practicing fly fishing by casting a rod into a children’s pool.
A third depicts a man playing with the gadgets inside a Jaguar in a car showroom, but he tells a salesman that he’s just looking.
“We think we’ve done a campaign that fits Lotto at this point,” Mahan said. While past campaigns from DDB, which handled the account for 10 years, were both funny and successful, he added that Grey’s approach is “much less flamboyant.”
Mahan said the fantasies portrayed are based on research which showed that Lotto players would spend their winnings on relatively modest goods and services such as a vacation, a hobby or a luxury car.
Still airing until recently was DDB’s old work, which used a balding man with a megaphone who announced the current jackpot prize in various amusing circumstances.
Media spending for the campaign is estimated at $10-15 million, compared to $20 million in total spending for 1998, per Competitive Media Reporting. Calls to the client were not returned by press time. ¡