Mid-week malaise

New Zealand Marketing - - TVNZ NZ Marketing Awards -

How do you fix a prob­lem like Big Wed­nes­day? You fo­cus on the jack­pot.

The chal­lenge

Back in 2011, New Zealand Lot­ter­ies made some sig­nif­i­cant changes to its mid- week game Big Wed­nes­day in an effort to put it back into growth and de­liver on its ul­ti­mate aim of giv­ing $ 184 mil­lion back to the com­mu­nity in FY13. The changes had been ex­pen­sive and time con­sum­ing. And they didn’t work. In fact, not only were the post re- launch sales be­low ex­pec­ta­tions, in most weeks they were ac­tu­ally lower than sales ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore the game changes.

Big Wed­nes­day was be­com­ing the rea­son sales tar­gets across the busi­ness were not be­ing met. So the team had to go back to the draw­ing board and try some­thing new. The prob­lem was that it had ef­fec­tively al­ready tried ev­ery­thing that was proven to work both over­seas and in New Zealand. So con­vinc­ing the board to make fur­ther changes to the $100 mil­lion busi­ness and al­lo­cate more re­source to comms so soon af­ter the last push was a tough sell.

The re­sponse

To fig­ure out what to do, it asked two big ques­tions. 1) What is the most at­trac­tive part of Big Wed­nes­day in play­ers’ minds? 2. Does an in­crease in Big Wed­nes­day sales have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on sales of its week­end jack­pot game, Powerball? And the an­swers: 1) big jack­pots and 2) not re­ally.

NZ Lot­ter­ies found most of its play­ers had a thresh­old at which they were able to jus­tify buy­ing a ticket in the hope of win­ning an ab­surd amount of money, so if it was big mid week and at the week­end, they bought two tick­ets, which was ex­actly the op­po­site of what the or­gan­i­sa­tion was afraid of. This all led it to one sim­ple thought: rather than con­tin­u­ing to fo­cus its mar­ket­ing ef­forts on dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing the two games, they should bring them closer to­gether, ef­fec­tively repack­ag­ing Big Wed­nes­day to fo­cus on what play­ers re­ally wanted to hear about.

This meant mak­ing a small yet crit­i­cal change: the prizes would be in­cluded in the over­all jack­pot amount, there­fore mak­ing the amount up for grabs the cen­tral fo­cus, rather than the cars, baches and boats that had been used to pro­mote the ‘Ul­ti­mate Lifestyle’.

A new ap­proach to com­mu­ni­ca­tions was also re­quired to sup­port this change. It in­cluded tele­vi­sion, ra­dio, and on­line sup­port, as well as the in­tro­duc­tion of a much more re­tail fo­cused cam­paign and shorter, sharper me­dia space booked to de­liver a sim­ple mes­sage: a life chang­ing jack­pot amount, ev­ery week.

The stores also played a big role in this change, so net­work- wide com­mu­ni­ca­tions and in­store sup­port was re­quired to ed­u­cate its 1200- strong re­tail net­work ( the big­gest in the coun­try) and POS was de­signed to be big and bold, ham­mer­ing the mes­sage home to play­ers.

The re­sults

The goal was sim­ple: get more peo­ple play­ing Big Wed­nes­day. And that’s ex­actly what hap­pened. From Au­gust to April fol­low­ing the change, on av­er­age an ad­di­tional 200,000 peo­ple per month bought a ticket. It’s as if the whole of Otago de­cided to start play­ing Big Wed­nes­day at the same time. NZ Lot­ter­ies is also cur­rently on track to smash its busi­ness tar­get for the fi­nan­cial year, largely due to the huge in­crease in Big Wed­nes­day sales. Af­ter the changes, this in­crease is ev­i­dent even in the low­est jack­pot weeks, with sig­nif­i­cantly higher sales for all jack­pot amounts.

The most im­por­tant pic­ture though, is when you look at a jack­pot run over a 16 week pe­riod be­fore the change and com­pare it to a sim­i­lar jack­pot run af­ter the change. The re­sult is pro­found. And while there was a mas­sive in­crease in Big Wed­nes­day sales, sales for a base $4 mil­lion Powerball week only dropped back by two per­cent, ver­sus the same year- to- date pe­riod last year.

NZ Lot­ter­ies took a risk in go­ing back to its jack­pot roots. And that risk well and truly paid off.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.