North Carolina Education Lottery (NCEL) is appointing a coalition of agencies to support the state's lottery program under a three-year contract. The winning team consists of Wunderman Thompson Atlanta as lead agency for creative, advertising and marketing communication services.
Spurrier Group will handle media planning and buying services. WT Chicago and WT Data Management (Dallas) will assist with research, data and insights. Sister WPP agency Burson, Cohn & Wolfe in Atlanta will handle PR responsibilities.
First work from the new team will launch next month.
MullenLowe Group Winston-Salem previously handled the account. In fact, this review isn't without controversy. Many North Carolinians have questioned why North Carolina is sending money to out-of-state agencies to service this business.
One NCEL representative responded by pointing out only one North Carolina shop submitted a proposal during the RFP process that began in January, and the winning partnership pitched the best proposal.
“As with all sales organizations, advertising plays a crucial role in success, especially with the challenge of bringing new games and promotions to the marketplace each month,” said Mark Michalko, executive director, NCEL. “The lottery believes it has found a partnership with Wunderman Thompson and the Spurrier Group that will ensure our ability to continue growing support for education in North Carolina. We’re excited about the creative talent and media expertise our new partners bring to our mission.”
NCEL's advertising budget for fiscal 2019 is projected at $26 million, according to the RFP.
On average, the NCEL launches 48 to 52 scratch-off games each year, supporting approximately 10 of these with unique broadcast campaigns. In addition, the NCEL is on-air at least twice a year with unique draw game messaging.
Additional campaigns are required for branding, beneficiary and responsible gaming messaging.
Most of the campaigns center on the notion of possibilities. Four years ago, the commission completed its first in-depth branding initiative to discover lottery players opt to play for the chance to dream about life-changing possibilities for themselves and their community.
Based on the insights gained, a messaging framework was developed that tapped into lottery players’ inherent optimism and desire to dream about a possible win.