Casino ads highlight winners' spending
As reported by The Star Tribune
gaming industry likes to focus its advertising on the inside
of the casino, on the dazzle and excitement that hits gamblers
when they walk through the door.
a new campaign, Grand
Casino looks at the other side of the door, featuring stories
about what casino-goers have done with their winnings.
Casino is the second-largest of the 11 tribal gaming operations
in Minnesota. Owned by the Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa, Grand
Casino draws more than 5 million customers yearly to its operations
in Mille Lacs and Hinckley. It employs nearly 3,000 people and
operates about 6,000 slot machines.
tribes don't reveal their revenues, but estimates are that tribal
gaming brings in at least $1 billion a year statewide.
Casino's ads kicked off this month on billboards, in print
and on radio and TV throughout the state. They feature the stories
of people such as Tom Neumann of Coon Rapids, who took his $400
winnings and bought a Shih Tzu puppy that he named Hinckley.
Strusz, vice president of marketing for Grand
Casino, said the approach differs from the standard ads
for casinos around the country.
focus has always been on what games they have and the opportunity
to win," he said. "They always really zeroed in on
the huge jackpots."
said he has more than 150 stories under consideration for future
ads, and not all of them are happy.
The ads are done by Red Circle Advertising, a Plymouth shop
whose president, Chad Germann, is a member of the Mille Lacs
gave credit for the idea to Dave McMillan, advertising director
for the Mille Lacs casino. McMillan had heard about Hinckley
the Shih Tzu and pushed to use the idea in a campaign.
year when it came time to do the TV advertising, Dave would
bring this scrap of paper out of his wallet and say, 'Why don't
we do this one?' " Germann said. "And we said, 'Yeah,
yeah, but we gotta show restaurants and slot machines.'
year we took Dave's idea and put it on the wall with all the
other ideas, and we realized that his idea was the best,"
Germann said. We put it in front of focus groups, and we had
people sitting in there telling their [casino] stories all night
the sake of making sure the people look pretty and they deliver
their lines on time, we're using actors," Germann said.
"It's easier that way.
might use a real person at some point. But you get a crew of
40 people standing around, you're eating up a lot of money.
It takes a professional to really hit the lines right."