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New Mohegan Sun Connecticut campaign seeks to convey 'feel' of the casino

Jul. 12—MOHEGAN — It's hardly a secret that Mohegan Sun offers a lot more than slot machines and table games. Restaurants, shops, concerts, a golf course and spas have long been on the casino's menu, too.

But what does it feel like when you're there?

That's the question "All in for Mohegan," the casino's latest marketing campaign, seeks to answer.

Launched last month with a 30-second commercial that aired during the NBA Finals on ABC and during the NHL's Stanley Cup Finals on ESPN, the campaign also is being disseminated on billboards, social media and radio as well as via digital advertising and onsite promotions. Mohegan Sun is targeting New York City, northern New Jersey and New England — areas within driving distance of southeastern Connecticut.

The TV spot depicts casino-goers celebrating in Mohegan Sun's new sports book; dining at Tao, the casino's premier restaurant; lounging at poolside; bowling; dancing; and taking selfies in front of the landmark Chihuly glass sculpture — as well as playing slots and tossing dice.

"Apps, craps and nightcaps," says a voice narrating the action.

Hatched prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the marketing campaign was kept on ice during the pandemic. It's Mohegan Sun's first new campaign in several years.

"We decided it was time to refresh our message," said George Galinsky, the casino's senior vice president for marketing communications. "Our previous campaign demonstrated all the things you could do here. Our biggest challenge was getting the message out that we're not just a casino. You don't need to be a gamer ..."

TAXI, the ad agency Mohegan Sun hired to develop the new campaign, also developed "Full of Life," the casino's previous campaign. Its other clients include Volkswagen, Audi, Applegate, Kraft Heinz, Colgate-Palmolive and GSK/Pfizer.

Research — polling customers on their likes and dislikes — is the first step in developing a campaign, Galinsky said.

"We had to find out what we were known for delivering," he said. "We learned it always comes back to a warm, welcoming, inviting experience that's difficult to describe. ... It just feels different here (than at other casinos)."

Marketing campaigns typically tout what casinos have to offer in the way of gaming and amenities. Advertising that attempts to capture a casino's environment is something new in the industry, according to Galinsky, who said research indicates Mohegan Sun's "brick-and-mortar audience" hasn't changed significantly since the pandemic hit business hard in 2020 and 2021.

Connecticut's gaming landscape also has been impacted by last year's legalization of online casino gaming and sports betting, which enabled Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino to introduce gaming apps and casino sportsbooks.

"There's evidence the audience has gotten a little younger, meaning more of it is in the 25- to 54-year-old age bracket, but we still have a lot of customers older than that," Galinsky said.

The slight increase in the percentage of younger casino-goers may have something to do with the greater marketing focus on nongaming amenities as opposed to gaming options and the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions that created pent-up demand, he said.

Older people have definitely returned to the casino at a slower rate than their younger counterparts, Galinsky said.

In the commercial, Derrick Williams, Mohegan Sun's director of transportation and a most congenial 25-year employee of the casino, greets guest as they arrive in the Sky Tower hotel. He also appears in Episode 6 of the fifth season of Mohegan Sun's "Back of House" online TV series.

"Williams epitomizes what we want in employees," Galinsky said.

And maybe in patrons, too.

Source: Brian Hallenbeck, The Day, New London, Conn. b.hallenbeck@theday.com