Not Just Bunnies, Nanotechnology: Oregon Lottery Touts Its Science Do-Goodism

When I think of state lottery ads, I envision quirky, outlandish scenarios, like what's hiding inside Santa's beard, a lotto winner who outgrows the underground confines of the New York City subway system, and scratch-off flakes posing as wintry snowflakes. And bunnies. Who can resist bunnies?

So imagine my surprise when I saw ads for nanotechnology and sustainable fuel projects, each funded by the Oregon Lottery. It's no secret that state lotteries fund various statewide public health, public safety and education services, but it's less common to see these services promoted alongside lottery playing. Consumers are more likely to recall bunnies before nanotechnology.

Borders Perrin Norrander took the road less traveled in a TV, print, online and outdoor campaign for the Oregon Lottery. "It does good things" hardly resembles typical lottery creative; it feels more at home in Popular Science than BusinessWeek

Ads are 98% science coupled with a small Oregon Lottery logo and minimal copy explaining the Lottery's role in funding. 

One print ads reads, "Hay, it used to be for horses, now it's for horsepower," referring to Trillium FiberFuels, a company developing a system of converting normally wasted energy from straw into ethanol. The ad continues to state that, "lottery dollars are helping fund new technology that turns cellulose into easily replenished fuel." Couple copy with pictures of hay and mathematical equations emerging from a car and you'll understand why the ads look better suited for science publications. 

"Many Oregonians don't know that the lottery helps fund parks, watersheds, schools and economic development," says Terry Schneider, creative director at Borders Perrin Norrander. "Especially with the current state of the economy, it is important to the Oregon Lottery brand health to get this message out to our audience. Giving Oregonians tangible evidence of these initiatives helps the public understand how the Lottery works to the state's benefit."

TV and online videos were more in-depth in explaining "solar cells that power small electronics, anti-malarial drug research, bio-fuel, electric engine efficiency and wastewater purification," says Schneider.

These technologies share a common denominator: Each is funded in part by the Oregon Lottery.

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