Ohio Lottery Sends Grandma, Grandpa To A Better Place

Gift-giving season is a great time for the state lotteries. With entry-level pricing ($1-10) and unlimited potential, lottery tickets make a great small gift with huge upside.

To ring in the season, the Ohio Lottery Commission takes a page out of the sentimental advertising so common in the season and turns it on its ear. The new TV and cinema campaign, from agency Marcus Thomas in Cleveland, depicts a family gathering over the years for Christmas. 

The story begins in 2008, where an elderly couple celebrate with their adult son and his pregnant wife. As the young man looks on, he sees his father gift his mother with lottery tickets. The scene replays over a few more years, as grandchildren are added to the mix, until 2016 when the couch where the elderly couple used to sit is vacant. As the adult son looks wistfully at the empty space, it’s revealed the elderly couple have foregone the family to celebrate on a sailboat. 



“We’ve found people really enjoy a good story and storytelling,” Debbie Pirone, management supervisor at Marcus Thomas, tells Marketing Daily. “We’ve learned people incorporate scratch tickets into their holiday traditions. We liked the idea of that [sentimental approach] but also the idea of a funny and uplifting ending.”

The spot will run in all Ohio markets on broadcast and major cable networks with an emphasis on prime-time programming. Because women typically begin shopping earlier than men, the run’s first few weeks will skew toward female audiences before adding more sports and male-oriented programming. The campaign will also include Facebook-promoted posts and radio advertising.

The holiday season is particularly important to the Ohio Lottery, as it accounts for a quarter of its annual scratch ticket sales, Pirone says. “If if you’re not playing the Lottery regularly, you’re looking for those little gifts for people,” she says.

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