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Developing Category-Breaking Creative Work for a Casino

By Austin Lane


Harrah’s Ak-Chin Hotel and Casino was at a critical inflection point in its twenty-four year history as it neared completion of a major construction effort to expand its property. The expansion included a new gaming floor, dining venues, spa, pool and first-ever events and entertainment center. Harrah’s came to us looking to establish and refine its strategic platform to make a dramatic impact on the competitive Phoenix gaming market. The agency was tasked with driving new visits from Phoenix and surrounding areas and enticing latent guests to reconsider and reengage with the brand.

We needed to create digital, print, outdoor and broadcast media assets to drive room bookings, dining purchases and gaming revenue at Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino following a property reopening and +$100M renovation. The single-minded focus was to introduce Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino as the destination for play through benefit oriented messaging and enticing visuals.

The challenge? How do you market a property and create buzz when it’s a complete demo zone?

By landing on the campaign direction of “Play For All,” we created participative content that invites consumers to play at every touch point. Through the use of 3D illustration and animation, we created a unique look and feel that is inviting, welcoming, and playful all while giving a nod to future design details, textures and fixtures to be seen on property.

To celebrate the region, the use of native plants and vegetation complemented a color palette that was derived from the surrounding landscape. With the combination of 3D illustration and animation, we created hyper-real imagery that had the balance of exaggeration and extreme detail.

Any time we can help a client break out of a tired approach it gets our creative juices flowing. Casino advertising often looks like an “insert your name here” category with so much sameness. Our clients at Harrah’s Ak-Chin were willing to play along and take an approach unlike most casino advertising; it paid off last week when the work won Best in Show at the SDX annual Addy’s Awards.