N. Shatrujeet

Playwin appoints O&M, Ambience for new online lotteries

Playwin has awarded O&M the advertising account for the online games of the Government of Karnataka, while Ambience D’Arcy gets Maharashtra. Saatchi retains Sikkim

Playwin Infravest - the Rs 300-crore online lottery venture promoted by Subhash Chandra and the Rs 4,500-crore Essel Group - has appointed O&M India and Ambience D'Arcy to handle the advertising for the soon-to-be-launched online lotteries of the Governments of Karnataka and Maharashtra, respectively. The development follows a multi-way pitch held in early July, details of which are not available.

Confirming the appointment of the two agencies, Sanjay Yashroy, vice-president - marketing, Playwin Infravest, told agencyfaqs!, "O&M has been assigned the lotteries from the Government of Karnataka stable, while Ambience now has Maharashtra." He adds that the first Karnataka game is scheduled for launch "very shortly", while a Maharashtra game will go online "next month". For the record, Saatchi & Saatchi continues to be in charge of the Government of Sikkim lotteries, while Madison Media is the AOR for all Playwin lottery brands.

Ascribing reasons for splitting the advertising account along ‘State Government' lines, Yashroy says, "As the games have to be self-sustaining, the idea is to differentiate the branding as strongly as possible. So the advertising for each Government's games has to be different in look and feel. The consumer has to play different games for different reasons, and we do not want any one game to cannibalize another. We found these two agencies (O&M and Ambience) up to the task, in terms of differentiating the brands."

It might be recalled that Playwin launched the first online lottery brand, Super Lotto, in end-March, while the second brand, Thunderball, went online three weeks ago. Both Super Lotto and Thunderball are Sikkim brands. Yashroy points out that Playwin is "very pleased" with the response to Super Lotto and Thunderball. "The good thing in the case of Super Lotto and Thunderball is that we have created strong brand differentiation, which has checked cannibalization," he says. "While Super Lotto stands for ‘win big' (it's the size of the jackpot that is the main draw here), Thunderball is ‘win easy' (the number of prizes that can be won here are more numerous). In just over four months, we have registered a turnover of Rs 125 crore. This is phenomenal by any standard."

Reasons for Playwin being so bullish about the online channel are not hard to find - in Yashroy's words, the potential is "limitless". The ‘legal' paper lottery business alone is pegged at around Rs 28,000 crore. Add to that the bogus - or parallel - lottery business, which is valued at another Rs 20,000 crore. "Paper lottery is a Rs 50,000-crore market, and part of my constituency comes from here," says Yashroy. "My other aim is to build brands in such a way that I get the higher SECs - who usually don't play paper - to buy into the concept."

Brand building is critical not only because Playwin has to tap more consumers, but also because competition is heating up. Already, there is speculation on ex-Marico Industries CEO Shreekant Gupte joining Lalit Modi's new online lottery venture. And encouraged by Playwin's showing, such ventures are only going to proliferate. And this is where good advertising will work as an early differentiator. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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