Publicis Welcomes Mega Millions to Washington State

The Space Needle, Seattle’s futuristic emblem, may soon come to symbolize something else: very conspicuous consumption.

To herald the Sept. 4 arrival of the multistate Mega Millions lottery game, the state of Washington is breaking an estimated $2 million campaign that ponders the buying power of the game’s winnings.

Three 30-second TV spots from Publicis in the West, Seattle, follow a mock news report about a man named Steve who has won an unspecified jackpot. The first ad details his purchase of the Space Needle. The second shows the huge structure being hauled down the highway. In the final spot, the Space Needle has been successfully relocated to Steve’s backyard.

Lottery marketing manager Michael Cousins said he hopes the ads will have local residents peeking out their windows to make sure the Space Needle is still in its proper place. An added benefit, he said, is the brand association with such a revered structure.

The campaign is tagged, “Buy whatever you want,” and also includes radio, outdoor and point-of-sale materials. It is the biggest effort this year for the lottery.

“It’s such an earth-shattering, obscene amount of money,” said Cousins, noting that the Mega Millions jackpot averages $80 million and could climb to half a billion dollars.

Publicis co-president and chief creative officer Kevin Kehoe said the shop “wanted the message to feel as big as the game.”

This is the first campaign to launch under lottery director Tony Molica, who was previously director of sales for the California Lottery. Molica joined in June and replaced Robert Benson Jr., who retired.

It’s also the first time ad efforts have expanded beyond the state’s borders, Cousins said. Outdoor and radio will cross over into Portland, Ore., and the state is considering running ads in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Idaho.

TV spots are running statewide though the end of October during prime-time and news programs and Mariners games.

Washington is the first state west of the Mississippi River and the 10th overall to offer the Mega Millions game.