It must be the recession. California lottery players were pulling back, not buying as many tickets unless the jackpot had hit the heavens, and rethinking those astronomical chances of winning. It’s called “jackpot fatigue” and Alcone Marketing Group was tasked with doing something about it.
In particular, there was concern over the falloff in play of the popular Scratchers scratch-off, instant-win game that gives players about a 1 in 4 or 5 chance of winning. Even play by loyalists was waning.
A survey by the California State Lottery found that one of the top reasons frequent players played was the thrill of the game, not just winning. To bring these moneymakers back, Alcone and the Lottery decided to offer more opportunities to play and win.
An online program, called “The Lottery Replay: Every 2nd Counts,” was conceived. The program rewards loyal players with more ways to play and win additional cash prizes and other unexpected perks and prizes. The odds of winning increase the more they played.
“Extending that playing occasion even several months to see if one of the codes they entered wins makes that second chance to win almost as important as the first,” Robert Flanigan, account director for lottery work at Alcone, said.
Each month, a new set of Scratchers games became eligible for replay online, including two entertainment-based games to tap into player’s passions for music (Warner Bros.) and movies (“Sherlock Holmes”). In addition, a third NFL-specific prize pool was also created for replay. Together, the three promotions led to a spike in participation, averaging 45,000 entries each.
Game play was designed to be easy. Players save their non-winning tickets for games listed on the Web site calottery.com/replay, entered codes and waited to see if they won during regular drawings every three months. A visual guide on the site showed players where to find the codes on each Scratcher.
“We went to great lengths to make sure every game that was replayed was easy to find,” Flanigan said. “The last thing we want is for these players to have trouble entering their codes online”
After seven months, the average site visit was 10 minutes, 20 seconds. Between May and December 2009, the site recorded 4 million visitors (1.7 million unique), 20.7 million codes were entered, with 183,777 entering at least 10 codes. Some 87% of players entered at least 2 codes.
“The fact that it increases exponentially over the course of time shows us that what we’re trying to do is working, they are continuing to engage with the program over a long period of time,” Ray Gottschalk, senior vice president, managing director, Alcone Irvine, said. “Now they have more chances to win so it gives them an additional incentive to play more lottery Scratchers. It’s truly an added value program that builds loyalty.”
The California Lottery hit the jackpot, concluding the pilot a success and giving Alcone the go ahead to continue the program through 2010 and beyond. Alcone plans to add additional features, functionality and benefits.—Patricia Odell