GOMES GAMING | News
Phil Hevener’s GAMING HOTLINE
Volume 18 No. 03t Copyright material November 26, 2009
DENNIS GOMES WAS LOOKING FOR A GOOD IDEA
BACK IN MARCH
...as his development team neared the opening of the Indiana Live Casino near Indianapolis.
The building, a racetrack, actually, was ready
off I-74 about 20 minutes out of Indianapolis. The gaming equipment,
2,000 or so slot machines and other electronic games, was in
place. A nice burst of early momentum would be critical for this
creation of the Gomes Gaming, Inc. This need brought
special attention to the quality of the advertising. A bright
shining idea, some special hook was crucial.
But the ad ideas Gomes had been reviewing were, well. .. eeeeeh, they did not leave him with a good feeling.So he wondered and he pondered. An idea took root. Government and business leaders everywhere were talking up the importance of economic concepts during the early months of 2009. President Obama’s thoughts on the subject got special attention.
So how about inviting the president to stop by and spend a little time touting the new casino that would provide a significant economic incentive as it also offered jobs, a new source of tax revenue and, last but far from least, an entertaining experience.
But how to pull it off . . . an interesting challenge.
Not even Gomes who could gush optimism as well as the next developer expected to bring the president himself to town to talk about the opening of a new casino. But how about a little show biz? Gomes knew that all he needed was the suggestion of an image.Maybe he could find a look-alike and a sound-alike who could stand with his back to the camera, facing a cheering audience of people waving signs that celebrated the opening of the state’s newest gambling venue and economic stimulus.
Gomes went to work looking through the new president’s speeches, borrowing phrases from here and there to combine with references to the entertainment de-lights the casino would be offering.
The end result was a television ad that got a ton of attention in the Indianapolis market where it was shown for several weeks.
It was more than an ad, it became a news story. A casual viewer might have glanced at the tv screen and seen the president extolling the merits of the new Indiana Live Casino. And so it became one of those best of all moments for marketing people attracting attention the new casino did not have to pay for.
Moments like these are to be savored by marketing pros because, no pun intended, you can’t buy this kind of attention as the power of an ad is magnified. Las Vegans will remember what occurred when the Hard Rock’s sexy ads became grounds for a Gaming Control Board hearing that got attention as a news story on the six o’clock news.
And how about those recent rolling billboards for a Vegas strip joint that had genuine scantily clad dancers demonstrating their pole routines in the middle of LV Strip auto traffic.
I’m guessing many Las Vegans did not know the clubs existed until county commissioners and other easily aroused guardians of local morals sputtered to life with a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth about the sorry condition of local morals.
The clubs loved the attention they got in news stories of one kind or another.
As for the Indiana ad, eventually the White House heard about it and a letter was received saying, in so many words that the casino’s imaginative ad campaign was not a good idea. The White House did not approve.
Which did nothing more than inspire more news reports before the campaign was eventually pulled and Gomes took “politics” out of his advertising.
And now we flash forward to last week in Las Vegas.
The Indiana Live Casino ad was one of those honored for creative thinking last week as the American Gaming Association handed out its annual awards in a number of categories for effective communications and advertising.
(The ad won “Best casino television advertisement” in the United States for 2009. Click here to view the commercial)
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