TLP Puts a Spin on Casino Wins

“Oh yeah!” is the gambler’s hosanna at the heart of TLP’s national advertising campaign for Harrah’s Entertainment.

The $25 million effort targets what the Dallas agency president and creative officer Bob Chimbel called avid and experienced players. It also used these casino customers to direct the creative.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been as consumer focused,” said Chimbel. “It was like working business-to- business. These folks are experts in how they entertain themselves.”

A pair of 30-second television spots will break this month on cable stations in cities including New York; Atlanta; Chicago; Memphis, Tenn.; St. Louis, Mo.; Dallas; Phoenix, Ariz.; Los Angeles; and San Francisco. Print will appear in newspapers and trades like Strictly Slots, Chance and Casino Player.

Both spots tap into players’ excitement by focusing on a win meter, a device attached to every slot machine that ticks off winning credits faster than a taxi meter. The ads also present a host of casino gaming symbols such as spinning slot wheels, flashing lights and triple sevens. Visuals are underscored by a 1950s-style rock ‘n’ roll music bed.

“We learned that watching the meter rise is an iconic moment in their experience,” said Chimbel. “I don’t think anyone’s ever used the devise in a commercial before, but it’s the one common icon that transports the players into the experience.”

“A lot of us [in advertising] purport to know what our customers want, but this campaign was synergistic with consumer focus re-search,” said Chimbel, who credited his focus groups as the real creative team. “There’s nothing we didn’t use without feedback from our customers,” he said.

Print ads also got the once-over before focus groups.

“When we hit them right, we had total engagement,” said TLP group ac count director Maggie Nation. “When ever we got too clever or sophisticated, we could see them disengage.”

TLP’s charge was to create a national Harrah’s brand but be sensitive to all 20 individual properties in diverse markets such as Atlantic City, N.J.; Las Vegas; and Shreveport, La.

“Each has different messaging that the ads have to accommodate,” said Nation. “We will provide each property a 15-second version of the spots so they can insert specific retail messages.”