NZ Lotteries pulls out the Trump card

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  • March 15, 2010
  • Ben Fahy
NZ Lotteries pulls out the Trump card

The Don (not the delicious Japanese meal, but the funny-haired American business tycoon), is currently gracing a range of New Zealand media channels to promote the New Zealand Lotteries Commission's latest Big Wednesday prize. And everyone wants to know how much he got paid.Youtube Video

As the Lotteries Commission is ostensibly a government-sanctioned gambling outfit, it is given certain privileges to advertise its wares when compared to private sector gambling businesses. As such, some, mainly Labour's Chris Hipkins, are demanding a little more transparency. But it's not forthcoming due to commercial sensitivity (perhaps they need a cream for that).

Justin Powell, the promotions manager for Big Wednesday, wouldn't disclose the fee Trump received but says there was obviously some money (from the promotions budget, not from the grants) involved to use his various brands. But he says Trump, "a very astute businessman, was also very aware of how much exposure he could get", both for some of his new hospitality ventures in New York and for the New Zealand version of The Apprentice, which is screening now and is said to be one of the most profitable parts of his empire.

"He needs a bit of promotion," Powell says. "And I do think he recognises the value of it."

Added to that, Trump was made aware in the negotiation process that the Lotteries Commission is not-for-profit and all the funds are redirected back into the community.

The 'Trump Up Your Life’ promotion offers a lucky winner and three friends an all-expenses paid Trump-centric trip to New York for a week, plus $100,000 cash for the winner. And Powell says it was intended to breathe some "excitement and freshness into the brand, because it can become a bit dependent on jackpots". All going well, he hopes it will  increase sales by 10-20 percent.

He says the Lotto and Big Wednesday brands have quite different personalities and Big Wednesday is all about the ultimate lifestyle. As such, Trump's "playboy" personality was seen as a perfect fit to help make that luxury life real.

Powell says this kind of promotion (Oktobor made the TVC, DDB were in charge of the creative execution and Spark Activate were the major players in charge of the negotations) is a first for Big Wednesday, although the Lotteries commission did broker a competition involving Richard Branson and his own Caribbean island in 2007. In that case it was free to use Branson's name for the Triple Dip promotion and all they had to pay for was the hire of the island, but Powell says it was a different kettle of fish because it wasn't a promotion saying you could live like Branson.

Trump spoke to the Sunday Star Times but he wouldn't divulge how much he was paid either. He said it's irrelevant anyway, because he gave it all to AIDS and cancer charities.

"It's something I'm doing because I really like New Zealand. I've been there a number of times. I think it's a great place. I have a lot of friends that live there," he told the paper.

Mysterious insiders with shifty eyes and trenchcoats estimate it would cost between US$250,000-500,000 to get the 488th richest man in world, according to Forbes, involved.

"They could afford to spend a lot on the talent because they spent so little on the creative execution," the mysetrious source says. "It's pretty disappointing. I don't even think he has make up on, does he? Maybe just a morning spray of hair. I admire the idea but I doubt it will work for them. Who wants to have dinner with such a strange man?"

Apparently Trump was all sweetness in light when being filmed. He even lifted up his hair to show that it was real(ish) and stayed for longer than planned without any tantrums.

So far Powell says the media exposure for the campaign has been outstanding, with pieces in major papers, an interview by Tim Wilson on Close Up and plenty of uptake for the story in the regions. And, of course, he says the negative publicity about the undisclosed fee is also being seen as good publicity.

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