OKRP ‘Brings Back Joy’ in new Illinois Lottery campaign

A new campaign for the Illinois Lottery from its agency O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul (OKRP) stars a charming –  but somewhat flawed –  hamster who playfully demonstrates the real joy in gifting the Lottery’s holiday instant tickets.

When not in his cage, Claude the Hamster exercises his love of scratching, leaving his scratch marks on all surfaces of the tiny apartment he shares with a young couple. While it appears this activity might be his undoing, it turns out to be acknowledged with his own perfect holiday gift – an instant ticket from the Illinois Lottery.

“Claude is really a love story that is ideally suited for the time we live in with its many issues we all face as well as our resilience and optimism,” explained Aubrey Walker, ECD at OKRP. “The Lottery challenged us to find a creative way to share the magic of the holidays and our team really got inside that moment of joy you have when gifted a Lottery ticket and the idea that anything can happen. All of that is captured in the final frame when you see Claude’s face light up when he sees the ticket in his cage.”

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Claude The Hamster Stars in a Holiday Love Story.

In addition to television and online videos, Claude shows his talon-talents in an interactive online website Watch Claude. The website  that enables fans to see Claude in his habitat via three different camera angles and to choose from a variety of items – cheese puffs, lottery tickets, a replica of the Chicago bean and more – and watch Claude play.

“People love to give Lottery tickets for the holidays, and this year we wanted to connect the spirit of giving and the excitement that comes when you get an instant ticket, given the many challenges everyone has faced this year,” said Lottery Acting Director, Harold Mays. “Claude lets us celebrate the inner scratcher in all of us, making him an instant Holiday classic.”

Claude was created using real footage of the hamster in his cage as well as animation. In discussing the process, Ruairi Twohig, VFX Supervisor at Framestore said, “Our team set out to create a photoreal CG creature with the capacity to convey humanlike emotions while respecting how a hamster would move and perform in reality. A real hamster was used for several shots, so it was important to maintain continuity between the animal and our CG animated Claude, while enhancing his performance at key moments in the story. Detailed lighting, compositing and fx simulations helped to ground Claude in his environment and throughout his interactions with the actors.”

Claude comes to life via television, online video, social media videos, out of home and on-premise instore signage.

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Agency: OKRP

Founder/CEO: Tom O’Keefe 

Exec. Creative Director: Aubrey Walker

Creative Director (Art): Ben Bonnan 

Creative Director (Copy): Zach Bonnan

Producer: Becca Major

Head of Client Business: Brenda Donahue

Account Director: Emily Magyar

Director of Brand Strategy: Hanley Fansler

Prod Co: Rakish

Director – Matt Smuckler

Executive Producer – Preston Garret – EP Rakish

VFX/Animation: Framestore

Editorial: Cut & Run 

Editor: Jon Grover

Producer: Malia Rose