All that’s good in advertising in Lottery/DP campaign

Life is good.   Sometimes anyway.  

We’re on record — repeatedly — as having found life to be especially good when viewing the TV commercial work that has been the hallmark of the Illinois Lottery since Michael Jones became superintendent and put Downtown Partners Chicago in charge of the Lottery’s advertising account. 

Nobody would ever claim the work that has come from Downtown Partners is big budget.  Or filled with eye-popping special effects.  Or other stuff designed to force the viewing public to pay attention.

Rather this work is a daring — and we really do mean daring — attempt to find out whether the public will respond any longer to work that is subtle and smart and, on occasion, surprisingly sweet — at least for advertising intended to promote lottery ticket purchases.

The newest campaign to emerge from DP for the Lottery was developed to promote “The Good Life,” the first family of Lottery games to be introduced in two years.

Yes, new games and new campaign.  And the TV spots?  Well, it will be no surprise to anyone, we suspect, if we say that, once again, Downtown Partners has managed to come up with work that is both lighthearted and intelligent.

Campaign a brand builder and sales generator 

“The Good Life” advertising is not cornball schtick.  It is an homage to everything that is rapidly disappearing from advertising — especially television advertising — as it becomes more and more desperate to get the public’s attention and maybe generate sales. 

You know there’s always been that argument about whether advertising is worth all the money poured into it.  Nobody talks much anymore about whether advertising makes sense as an investment in brand building.

The only discussion anyone wants to have nowadays is about whether advertising generates more bottom line results. Because every chief marketing officer with at least a scintilla of smarts — and there aren’t many of those anymore — knows that his or her job may be in jeopardy if those bottom line results don’t materialize.

But at the Illinois Lottery, the hope under Superintendent Jones is that the new advertising being created by Downtown Partners will serve both to build up the Illinois Lottery brand and broaden the customer base interested in buying Lottery tickets and playing.

That customer base has been a big problem for the Lottery.  There have always been too few customers responsible for too large a portion of Lottery sales.  By introducing advertising that attracts the attention of different potential customers, the hope among Lottery executives is that more people who had shunned the notion of playing might begin to think otherwise.

But back to “The Good Life.” 

Good idea and good writing in debut spot

The debut spot in the new ad campaign is a perfectly lovely example of what has been so good about the Lottery work from Downtown Partners.  As has been the case with so much work coming from DP, this debut commercial is really a celebration of two core components of good advertising — idea and copywriting — that have simply been forgotten in too much work that bombards viewers today.

The idea that forms the solid foundation for the launch “Good Life” commercial is that of a company named the Good Life Inc. that operates a factory where the good life is manufactured and distributed to a public understandably hungry for everything the words imply.

The commercial opens with an image of what looks to be a standard issue factory with a sign atop it that identifies the building as the place where the good life is manufactured.

But that’s about all that is conventional about this commercial.

Once we are taken inside the factory, viewers can see that it is a place where whimsy of a high order is the order of the day.  Who among us would expect to find a worker inside the good life factory with his head in the clouds?  Literally!  But this Illinois Lottery commercial shows us one — and ingeniously describes the situation as “an occupational hazard” in the manufacturing of the good life.

 Spot shows grass is greener on both sides

And how about that old saying about things always being greener on the other side of the fence?  Well, Downtown Partners takes that questionable bit of wisdom and wittily subverts it as the commercial tells us the workers inside the factory are busy creating fencing where the grass is actually just as green on both sides.

Who knew, right?  Welcome to the good life.

Everything about this commercial, in fact, is as light and fluffy as one of those cotton candy-like cumulus clouds we see the good life workers stuffing into boxes for shipment to all who desire a bit of the good life so happily being manufactured here.

Yes, this is advertising that doesn’t cruelly assault the senses or insult the intelligence of all who view it.  This is advertising designed to build a brand and entice people — in an intelligent way — to come on down and play.

We truly hope that the work’s magic is every bit as effective as it deserves to be.

Agency credits: Jim Schmidt, Joe Stuart, partners; Elyse Maguire, CD/copywriter; Maria Xerogianes, producer; Diane Mikita, broadcast business manager.

Production credits: Company, Partizan, L.A.:  Russ Lamourex, director; Sheila Stepanek, CEO, executive producer; Lori Stonebraker, head of production; Cindy Becker, producer.

Postproduction: Beast Editorial: Angelo Valencia, editor; Lauren Scheuer, producer.  Method Studios: Kristina Wilson, executive producer; Ryan Urban, supervisor; Anastasia Vonrahl, producer.  Colorist, Tyler Roth, Company 3; finish artist, Mark Anderson, Method.Music: Nick Tremulis.

 Contact Lewis Lazare at