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Sen. Jim Kastama: Marketing to blame for lackluster lottery sales

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Jan. 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm with No Comments »
January 3, 2012 5:04 pm

The state senator from Puyallup says Washington should emulate Georgia on an advertising campaign “built around education, not get-rich-quick schemes.”

At Kastama’s behest, the state followed Georgia in shifting lottery proceeds to higher education, but auditors said today the strategy hasn’t borne fruit in the form of better-selling lottery tickets.

“The takeaway isn’t that the program doesn’t work. The takeaway is that we haven’t done it correctly,” said Kastama in a statement:


If this can work in Georgia but not here, then we have to ask ourselves why. And the answer is in the execution.

The key to success in Georgia is that the state built its lottery campaign around education. But here in Washington, education is a minor component of the lottery campaign, less than 25 percent. The primary message Washington still sends is of the lottery as a get-rich-quick scheme, not a mechanism to expand education. They haven’t done what they need to do to change public perception.

The lessons of Georgia are clear. Focusing on education has been a “home run” that has funneled $12.9 billion into education with 1.4 million college scholarship recipients and billions of dollars towards Pre-K programs. But that kind of impact requires a campaign built around education, not get-rich-quick schemes.

If it is true, as this report seems to suggest, that big jackpots drive lottery sales, the answer is not a campaign that publicizes winning the lottery. People get that already in the form of news stories every time a jackpot builds, in a way that’s far more effective than any public campaign. Our money would be more effectively dedicated to ads about young people improving their lives through education. This is the kind of positive message of hope people need, especially in this period of economic recovery.

The takeaway isn’t that the program doesn’t work. The takeaway is that we haven’t done it correctly.


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