The Nebraska Lottery belongs to the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), whose members include 37 state lotteries that sell the Powerball Lotto game. When MUSL members decided to raise the price of Powerball tickets from $1 to $2 while raising the prize for non-jackpot wins (matching five white balls) to $1,000,000, the Nebraska Lottery asked us to develop a yearlong rebranding campaign to explain the changes.
Since Powerball had cost only $1 since it was created in 1992, MUSL’s main concern was that loyal players would protest against the price hike by boycotting the game. Our task was to keep decreases in average daily transactions down while communicating to core players that the changes in Powerball would result in better odds, bigger jackpots and more millionaires.
We developed six different benefit messages for the campaign and tested the concepts in four focus groups in areas with a high number of core Powerball players. Participants in all four focus groups responded most favorably to a “more millionaires” campaign message and were less receptive to benefits like better odds and bigger starting jackpots.
These findings helped us set our creative strategy for the campaign to visually illustrate the “more millionaires” theme by giving “new millionaire tips.” The creative materials suggested that the changes to Powerball would create many new Nebraska millionaires, who would need advice about how to be rich. Television and radio spots featured numbered “millionaire tips” that gave advice on how to drive Ferraris, how to use bidets, why it was unwise to take a limousine to the supermarket and others. Print, outdoor and digital media executions extended this theme by showcasing typical millionaire “bling” such as jewelry, fine cuisine and expensive clothing.
During the yearlong “Millionaire Tips” campaign period, average daily sales of Nebraska Lottery Powerball sales rose by 42 percent over the previous year. What’s more, in Nebraska, the number of core players leaving the game because of the price increase was much lower than anticipated — only 13.5 percent as compared to 30 to 35 percent in other MUSL states.