While the lottery does have limitations in what it can do, it does already offer sensory experiences to encourage players to play and enhance game experience. The instant category provides the most ubiquitous examples, which allow for two ways to stimulate customers: visual and haptic. The bright colors, fonts and logos are designed to be aesthetically beautiful and attract customers. The “pick up” appeal is an imperative element in the game. “Everything from the colors to how vibrant the logos are is what gets players to make their initial selection,” Napolitano said.
“You always want to answer that first question of: Does ticket art stand out? Does it get noticed? Is there a compelling proposition? Do I relate to the game?” Jeff Martineck, VP Instant Product Development, Scientific Games said. “The visual impact of the theme or brand is that initial first way we can engage players.”
A Kissmetrics report showed that 92.6% of people say the visual dimension is the #1 influencing factor affecting their purchase decision. People make a subconscious judgment about a product within 90 seconds of initial viewing. Up to 90% of that assessment is based on color alone.
Martineck’s questions have to be kept in mind from the onset of designing the game. Answering them is both art and science. There probably isn’t a magic color, symbol or logo that uniformly makes a ticket sell better than all the rest.
“When I first got started as the instant ticket product manager for the DC Lottery, I built a database of scratch tickets in Excel that identified 39 different variables for each ticket,” John Gorman, (Former) Managing Director, Chief Marketing Officer, Maryland Lottery & Gaming Authority said. “One of the variables was color. But because most scratch tickets have more than one color, I broke this category out into two variables: primary color and secondary color. I got 140 tickets entered before I gave up. When that was all done, I filtered the 140 games by highest indexing down to lowest indexing and then tried to identify any key variables that were correlated with the higher indexing tickets. When I looked at color, I didn’t find any conclusive insights. Honestly, the colors of our highest indexing tickets were pretty much evenly distributed between yellow, orange, red, green, purple, etc.”
One reason a single color doesn’t universally do better is because not all players are stimulated in the same way. Some studies have shown that women respond to colors, like purple, differently than men do. But segmenting by demographics alone might not be the best strategy. “We don’t segment on demographics. We segment on motivations, and as such we’ve categorized all consumers into six segments. We responsibly design games with this in mind,” Martineck said.
One of the advantages of having the counter space for multiple games is that lotteries can appeal to a large range of players at once. “With so many instant games on sale in a market at one time, we can reach all of the motivational segments. If the portfolio is managed correctly, there’s something for everybody at every time,” Martineck said.
Unlike the visual elements in the game, the haptic stimuli occurs after the purchase of the ticket. The feel of scratching the ticket is important for the overall player experience.
To create an even more compelling experience, chemicals can be added to the ticket to tie the haptic stimuli with the visual elements on the ticket. For instance, the D.C. lottery sold a Wizards scratch ticket that felt like a basketball.
What is important to note is that players may not always be aware of these haptic stimulations. “Appealing to the sense of touch enhances the connection with the game and makes the experience richer, as our customers are finding with our LuxVelvet™ and LuxTouch™ finishes,” Martineck said.
Lottery games printed from a terminal make it harder to provide impactful stimulation to customers. In the past when drawings were aired on TV, visual and auditory stimulation could be added to the show to enhance the game experience. Now that most people get the drawn numbers on their phone, this additional stimulation is lost.
Stimuli can be added to the game experience with devices around the point of purchase. Even older terminals have the ability to produce sounds. Many jurisdictions require it as a security feature. “Ostensibly, one of the main reasons we put in speakers was: if you have a winning experience, it plays a little tune. It is a little celebratory audio experience for the consumer. But to some degree, it was a little bit of fraud prevention. You’re getting another visual or auditory cue that you need to pay attention,” said Paul Riley, VP, Innovation & Lottery Transformation, IGT.
Another device is jackpot signs. “From a visual perspective, how do we stand out in the clutter? Digital signage. And lottery is very lucky, because we’ve been doing digital signage before many retailers realized how valuable it is. It is an unbelievable medium to have,” he said.
The lottery industry’s early push to connect digital signage to the terminal infrastructure to show jackpot amounts has certainly been a powerful tool in generating excitement. Perhaps the most notable example is instant terminal games like Fast Play and Print N Play. This category of games has existed for some time but had limited success.
“The game was almost invisible until progressive jackpots. Players definitely reacted to that product after that mechanic was implemented,” Scott Hoss, Sr. Marketing Manager, INTRALOT said.
“The visual stimuli of seeing the jackpot is a big part of that reaction,” Fivi Rondiri, Corporate Marketing Manager, INTRALOT said.
The category is evolving. Canadian lotteries’ Watch-n-Win category is a fantastic case study of utilizing external devices to drive sensory experiences. Poker Lotto, the first iteration of the Watch-n-Win category, was originally rolled out in Ontario.
When a player purchases the game, an animation plays on a monitor near the terminal. This not only enhances the player’s sensory experience, but also piques the curiosity of other store patrons, providing excellent sensory marketing.
“When we launched Poker Lotto, we made sure to keep the transaction time short and made sure the audio experience was stimulating to the customer. We also made sure the sounds wouldn’t irritate the retailer. We only had sound in short bursts and made sure to link the sounds to a transaction where the retailers were making money. Before launching the game, we had focus groups with retailers and showed them what we were planning to do. They got it and loved it,” Adam Caughill, Director, Lottery Business Development & Innovation, OLG said.
Keno and its cousin games, like the Lucky One and Xpress Sports (virtual sports), have latent potential that static paper products can only dream of. Fantastic visual and auditory stimuli enhance the player experience. Particularly for products like virtual sports, the game can imitate the world’s most exciting live events all year round. The problem is that retailers, whether they are convenience stores or restaurant bars, usually don’t want additional stimulation.