Washington’s Lottery saw an opportunity to reimagine what a regional office could be. As the lease was coming up on one of their offices and noting available space in shopping malls, the lottery famous as the Department of Imagination® decided to lease a space that could be part office/part retail experience. The lottery turned to Blake Jarrett & Company to envision and create a physical space that would embody the legendary DOI branding.
Bringing the store to life was fraught with hurdles. “Washington State’s Department of Imagination is a concept—not a physical location,” said Blake Jarrett, CEO. “That was one of the challenges. The magical aspect of this project is taking a mythical department and making it a place. Different from the Department of Motor Vehicles, this is a state bureau you want to visit.”
Blake Jarrett & Company brings to the lottery industry a large body of work the company has done for iconic brands, such as Coke, Google and Samsung. “If you want to blend in, don’t call us,” joked Jarrett. “If Coke wants to do something innovative with their brand in retail, particularly in grocery stores, they often call us. We worked with Coke to create their on-venue marketing at the 2014 London Olympics. Coke wanted to stand out at the 800 concessions to the over 10 million visitors. Their goal was brand domination.”
Tackling innovation was a collaborative effort involving many of Washington’s Lottery partners, including IGT, Wunderman Thompson, Carmanah Signs, Optika Display and NCI. “The people at Washington are the greatest people to work with,” said Jarrett. “You do run into challenges along the way. When we had questions, they were fair and reasonable. When changes had to be made, they were a joy to work with.”
The vision of the project was to evoke an emotional response for the customer. The shop displays the actual ticket from the smallest to the super-sized. “It is like a museum backlighted display organized by category,” said Jarrett. “The whole counter is engineered around displaying the entire core offer.”
Lottery organizations are increasingly taking more responsibility for how their brands are presented at retail. Blake Jarrett & Company vertically integrates retail architecture to ensure that all marketing components will blend seamlessly. “The pandemic is a turbocharging experience for innovation,” said Jarrett. “Everything is getting pushed ahead. Consumers have learned to function outside the retail location. It is going to take more innovation to bring them back.”