Sometimes, the best advertising ideas come from expressions or phrases that are already part of the cultural vernacular.
We've all heard people make offhanded comments like, "Be right back...unless I win the lottery” or "See you all tomorrow...unless I win the lottery."
The Internet is filled with tweets invoking this sentiment: "Stuck with this lemon of a car...unless..." "Won't be taking that vacation...unless..."
We thought, why not take the line and make it proprietary to the DC Lottery? And put all that social energy to work for the brand?
Coinciding with the opening of the James Bond blockbuster movie Skyfall, The International Spy Museum opened a two-year exhibit featuring the evil villains James Bond has faced over the years.
To generate interest in the exhibit, we used villains and their nefarious plots in a multimedia advertising campaign.
Exquisitely Evil: 50 Years of Bond Villains is the only exhibit of its kind in the United States. To date, it has seen over 1,000,000 visitors and generated over $14,000,000 in revenue.
The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, is well known for its fine collection of classic and modern art. The building itself is an historic landmark.
What most people don't know is that housed inside the "Beaux Arts" style gallery is the Corcoran School of Art, a surprisingly avant garde community of artists and designers who challenge the status quo. This was something of a secret.
To help jump-start recruiting for the Corcoran School of Art, we needed to project an image that not only honored their classical grounding, but also signaled the irreverent streak that makes them somewhat iconoclastic.
So we created a film that celebrated the "wow" factor of student work, as well as a logo that demonstrated how The Corcoran was reinventing itself.
Are there any easy marketing problems anymore? No.
It doesn’t work that way.
How can one compete? There’s only one way.
To be maniacally focused on every opportunity, every message, each and every touch point, every prickly inquiry, every damn conference report, every freaking strategy, plan and program.
The past is littered with marketers who follow every shiny new object that surfaces.
The truth is, it isn’t about following. It’s about having the confidence, the strength, the experience, the knowledge, and guts, to lead.
That comes from doing the little things as well as you do the big things.
In fact, it comes from looking after everything.
That’s what we do.
Philosophically, The Washington Examiner is a right of center, conservative magazine in the politically-charged DC region. Their masthead includes a facsimile of the American seal. They wanted to stimulate online readership with a campaign that would not only distinguish them from their competitors, but also be true to their belief in the traditional values of this country. We gave them a battle cry that both conservatives and liberals could relate to and they, as a brand, could support: Freedom isn’t free. The multimedia campaign included TV, Print, Radio, OOH, mobile billboards, and a significant online component using interactive web banners that took readers to the latest headlines, a Twitter feed, and a chance to win a free iPad.
After a year of depicting national treasures romantically in advertising, we shifted to highlighting the unique, unconventional and unexpected local culture as well.
DC has always been a magnet for people who want to buck the system and change the world. This mindset profoundly influences the local food scene, entertainment and culture like nowhere else in the world.
Many things that happen in life each day are beyond our control. A flat tire. A leaky coffee cup. The rudeness of others. Annoying little things happen all the time.
This observation served as the basis for a wonderful advertising campaign for the DC Lottery, one that distinguished them immediately from two adjacent lotteries in the region who outspend them, Virginia and Maryland.
For those who are victims of the small pieces of bad luck that rain upon the human race, we offered a bright spot in an otherwise not so bright moment--a lottery "intervention."
In short order, the phrase "I need a lottery intervention" resonated with consumers and became part of the vernacular.
You have a lottery ticket in your pocket. You think about whether you might win. You imagine the feeling. You anticipate the moment when you see the numbers, and realize they are winning numbers. Your heart beats faster. Tears of joy come to corners of your eyes.
It is this moment, the moment between anticipation and reality, that we captured in this campaign for the DC Lottery.
In a radio campaign that highlighted the fact that "It's fun to play" the DC Lottery, we created the Department of National Insecurity. Created as a foil, it portrayed a fictitious organization that monitored the "not so much fun" things happening around the world. Try not to laugh when you listen.
In a radical departure from advertising the traditional aspects of the nation's capital, we focused on a virtually unknown side of DC--the "cool" side.
To reflect this, we partnered with internationally famous photographer Jim Krantz to capture the unexpected side of DC's local culture in classic, captivating black and white.
As a result, Forbes magazine placed DC at the top of its list of "America's Coolist Cities" in 2014 and it was a banner year for tourism to "Cap City".
As part of the DC Lottery logo, the letter "O" is replaced by a cherry blossom, one of the well-known symbols in Washington, DC, thanks to the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.
Since playing the lottery is fun, and it's always there to provide fun when the desire to play occurs, we decided to have some fun with the logo and animate the cherry blossom to a laughing smiley face. And we wondered what it would be like if someone working in an office happened to get a phone call from that same smiley face, on break from its position in the logo to pop out of that person's phone. In other words, what would happen if "fun" really did call from the DC Lottery?
Heroes is the brainchild of the late philanthropist, DC power broker and parking lot magnate Leonard B. “Bud” Doggett, Jr. Bud wanted to create an organization that looked after the families of those firefighters and police officers who fall in the line of duty. As part of getting the message out, he commissioned MDB to create a short, powerful film that would eventually be screened in every precinct fire department, and Federal law enforcement agency in the nation’s capital. Heroes is an acronym for Honor Every Responsible Officer’s Eternal Sacrifice.
The American Podiatric Medical Association came to MDB to help raise the profile of Podiatrists. We felt they needed an image that displayed a sense of understanding about human nature. Ads reflected the myriad problems that ail the human foot, were observational in nature, and projected wit and humor.
The International Spy Museum is run by real spies--former members of the CIA, FBI, NSA, MI5 & KGB.
In the interest of creating intrigue, it seemed only natural to use those real spies in the advertising.
Our efforts included Out-Of-Home, Magazine, Newspaper and Digital assets and resulted in a 7.03% year over year sales increase.
A comprehensive research study of the DC lottery region and its players revealed that the more consumers see evidence that people actually win prizes of all sizes playing the DC Lottery, the more likely they would be to play.
So we told stories of real people who have won various amounts of money from the DC Lottery. And we told those stories in ways that were charming and humorous, which made their personal experiences playing the lottery even more rewarding.
In an effort to stimulate hotel bookings during February, a month that is typically not big for tourism in the nation's capital, Destination DC has a month-long promotion called Date Nights DC. It's a time when people can get significantly lower prices on hotel rooms than during the summer months.
The goal was to encourage couples to "Get A Room." Because February is also the month for Valentine's Day, it only seemed appropriate that the advertising was romantic in nature.
As for results:
-Organic Google traffic to DateNightsDC@washington.org rose 97% Year Over Year
-Mobile Facebook time on DateNightsDC@washington.org rose 393% YOY
-"28 Romantic Spots Slideshow" traffic rose 9.802% YOY
-Link to "100+ Date Ideas" resulted in 1,089 clicks via Facebook
Samaritan Inns helps homeless people with substance abuse problems rehabilitate and become contributing members of society.
They exist entirely on donations from companies and individuals.
We created an emotionally compelling video to help with fund-raising that pointed out a simple and troubling fact: Every homeless person we see is "somebody."
Lots of people win the DC Lottery. They win at home watching numbers come up on TV. They win on street corners when they remember an instant ticket they forgot to scratch is still in a pants pocket. They win on the spot at a lottery agent. And sometimes, as you can see here, they win while outside on a warm summer evening, lying on a blanket, looking up at the sky, and a shooting star goes by.
National Geographic is famous for documenting even the most remote corners of the world and embracing some, oftentimes controversial, issues.
Such was the case when they promoted a book called Lost History, in which many of the inventions attributed to western civilization were actually invented my Muslims.
To promote this book post 9/11, we chose the controversial image of a Muslim woman wearing a burka. Knowing that different people see different things when they look at such a picture, we simply asked the provocative question: What do you see?
Since 2004, public support for the use of humane animal research to advance health in humans and animals had fallen 10 points, according to a survey from Zogby International. MDB’s “How cures happen” campaign was part of a national animal research education initiative for The Foundation for Biomedical Research. It was designed to counter the drop in public support for biomedical research. Advertising focused on the great power and shock inherent in the names of the terrible diseases that can now be cured or prevented thanks to the work of animal research. The campaign contributed to a significant reversal in the trend of declining public support. Market metrics from Zogby reported a 49.5% net improvement in opinion among the key target audience (women, 18-34).