The Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Agency cooked up a great summer treat for players with its new scratch and sniff OLD BAY® Bucks Scratcher. It’s one “spicy game” that matches a favorite Maryland spice with the well-known state lottery.

“Sometimes referred to as ‘the can that connects us,’ OLD BAY® is Maryland’s all-time favorite seasoning. Ask any Marylander about OLD BAY and you’ll hear stories that conjure up images of crab feasts and fun and summer gatherings with family and friends,” said John Gorman, Managing Director, CMO, Maryland Lottery. “There’s an emotional connection and hometown pride associated with the brand. In addition to being a popular spice for steamed crabs, the brand has now extended to include several seafood mixes, flavored snack items and even beer. Aficionados often become brand ambassadors by wearing things like socks, shirts and hats emblazoned by the OLD BAY logo.”

In its first three weeks of sales, OLD BAY Bucks’s weekly sales averaged $358,511 or $0.06 per capita. The ticket is indexing 148, “currently our best-selling $2 ticket of all time,” said Gorman.

The OLD BAY Bucks TV commercial features a woman floating in the water. She is scratching a lottery ticket and being fanned by a handsome merman. Another finned man presents her with a platter of hot spicy crabs. He liberally sprinkles OLD BAY on the crabs. The song “Tonight Feels Right” floats in the air. We see a merman play an electric piano with crab hammers. She sniffs the can of OLD BAY that metamorphizes into the OLD BAY Bucks scratchoff. Suddenly she is plunked back into the typical office kitchen where a co-worker quizzically watches her sniff an OLD BAY Bucks scratchoff. The ad ends by reminding players that “Maryland’s all-time favorite seasoning now available in a scratchoff—OLD BAY Bucks. Scratch, sniff and win up to $10,000.”

The agreement with McCormick Spice required a food stylist present during the shooting of the commercial.

“The Maryland Lottery created a fun and whimsical commercial that opens with a woman sitting on large buoy floating in the Chesapeake Bay. To create a mystical dream sequence for the first half of the spot, the Maryland Lottery, its agency and the production company spent considerable time on art direction and set design, wardrobe and styling of the actors. A food stylist was also on site to ensure that the OLD BAY spice was prominently featured,” said Gorman.

Creating a digital and social plan for the OLD BAY Bucks scratch-off presented a unique challenge. “The scented scratch n’ sniff feature of the ticket lent itself to a variety of fun promotional opportunities through our digital channels. However, ensuring that the public recognize that the ads were for the OLD BAY® scratch-off—and not for the well-known OLD BAY seasoning, was a bit tricky,” Gorman explained. “Our marketing for the scratch-off certainly had a strong association with the OLD BAY brand, but it needed to differentiate itself from OLD BAY’s product marketing. In digital, where seconds count and attention spans are limited, an interactive game might engage the audience for a few minutes, a lifetime in this medium. Through digital partner AdTheorant, we created an OLD BAY Bucks game where players match up cards on a board that replicates our OLD BAY Bucks scratch-off. The symbols on the cards were identical to the ones used on the scratch-off itself. Once the player completes the game, they are asked to share their location. A map then shows the closest lottery retailer. The interactive game not only keeps players there longer, it reinforces the fact that this is an ad for a lottery product. It then directs them to the nearest lottery retailer, encouraging ticket sales.”

Creating a licensed lottery game with a local food company can make sense for lotteries. “Both McCormick and the Maryland Lottery are iconic, well-known and much-loved brands with strong ties to Maryland. The advantage in working with McCormick is that we have been able to leverage the broad appeal and popularity of the OLD BAY brand to introduce scratch-offs to a segment of the population that may not have otherwise played a lottery game,” said Gorman.