Kewadin Casinos – Brand Campaign
Concept Dev | Copywriting
Kewadin, who owns and operates five casinos all tucked up in Michigan's scenic Upper Peninsula, needed a strong brand presence – one that wouldn't result in five sub-brands all cannibalizing each other's awareness.
It would have been wild had the client selected the campaign idea we pitched where the properties were all siblings, part of The Kewadins (the world's first casino sitcom family). But they chose the right idea for their business, where we established the whole U.P. as Kewadin Country, with each property laddering up under a new, parent brand.
While Kewadin's competition continued to bang the jackpot joygasm drum, we crafted an award-winning campaign that put the Kewadin guest experience front and center, telling stories that could only happen in Kewadin Country.
Process / Notes
It's About the User
While clients in the casino and hospitality industry still have strong feelings about showing off their "stuff," RCA has demonstrated how much more powerful it is to use your brand to celebrate the guest and their stories/experiences.
My first real agency, I was incredibly lucky to cut my teeth with folks who were trying to emulate people like Errol Morris in the creative.
You Want to Shoot Where?
The Red Dress spot had originally been planned to take place on the gaming floor. But, on the day of the shoot, the director (Orange Filmwork's Marco Baca) pulled me aside to say he'd seen a better way to shoot it. Instead of the talent crossing through the casino floor, he wanted her to come down the escalator. He explained how it would make for a much better spot. I agreed and we went to bat for this together. To the client's credit, they trusted it would turn out as we envisioned. (It did.)
I should have stopped pushing my luck there. But, in edit, Saint-Saen's The Aquarium seemed so absolutely damn perfect for this particular spot, we included it in the first cut even though we knew it was a long shot for a casino commercial. Again, to their credit, the client agreed.
The Hero We Deserved
We cast these spots out of Chicago. On the one hand, flying to another city to cast for spots that will be shot in yet another city is fairly rad. On the other hand, casting always makes me squirm as I do not look forward to rejecting anyone for anything on any given day.
It was awesome, though, that towards the end of the shoot, the super-nice and talented actor we'd cast in our Sunshine spot confided in me that he'd just come from shooting a "Batman movie" of which he "couldn't say a lot" but (after I freaked out and pressed) he admitted that in said bat-flick, "the Joker kills me real good."
Was an amazing moment. Here we had a spot in the can the client loved, and it starred a batman vigilante Heath Ledger murders in one of the Dark Knight's most chilling scenes. Go, Andy!