Creatively Speaking

Tracy Locke

Global advertising agency TracyLocke served their client Harrah's, the global gaming firm, for nearly a decade. This length of engagement is unprecedented in the advertising world. TracyLocke sought to chronicle the unique partnership, how their creative efforts impacted Harrah's performance and the collaboration that ensued.

The article commissioned, really a strategic marketing initiative, needed to serve as both a printed leave-behind and the basis for a script. The desired article-script needed to resemble a "60 Minutes" segment. The 14-minute retrospective video "The Game Changer" tells the tale of their relationship using the numerous commercials, promotions, and graphics, resulting from their work together. The "case study" illustrates the ideal agency-client relationship and the power of marketing. The text version for viewing.


Creative destruction. It's an economic term that basically means the new replacing the old, like when the railroad first came to town--changing the way people and commerce were organized. The partnership between Harrah's and advertising agency TracyLocke evolved in an era of creative destruction for the casino business as it was being transformed into a casino and entertainment destination for gamers. TracyLocke was the creative force behind the scenes, re-making Harrah's marketing face into a globally recognized powerhouse of gaming.

...When TracyLocke earned the advertising business, they took a deep dive into understanding what gamers hot buttons were. "There were some very distinct fence posts that as long as we stayed within a particular arena, we literally could put a commercial on Friday and then increase the slot take on Saturday, sometimes a 20-30% uptake than without it," Chimbel says. "As soon as we moved away from the fence posts to experiment for art's sake, we'd lose it. The effect was measurable."

... In today's world there are few, if any, products that are not commodities according to Chimbel. "Is Harrah's black jack table any different than MGM's? We've entered the golden age of marketing. What makes someone take the left turn to your location versus the right turn to another's? It's something that connects with them on an emotional level." Having more slot machines doesn't do it. Actual product experience is the first step in brand experience and how the public begins to formulate opinion. Chimbel professes, "The next most powerful tool in lieu of actually touching the brand itself is some school of communications, whether traditional or not. And hopefully the product itself meets up to the expectations that your advertising and promotions evoke."


The Journey: A Memoir of Bob Alpert

imageCommission to write a biography about one of Dallas' pioneering real estate entrepreneurs, famous for creating the first Omni Hotels and developing the resort Lakeway near Austin, Texas. The project included the writing of the book, art direction, and project management services.


The RTC broke many banks in Texas, and later realized it was a mistake. Their actions set Dallas' formerly vibrant downtown back twenty years or more, with the overall Texas economy taking a hit as well. Byrne said that Dallas lost all of the stakeholders that cared about downtown and the city itself. Dallas' Republic Bank and First National Bank were bought by outside banks--Bank One of Columbus, Ohio and NationsBank of Charlotte, North Carolina--new 'outsider' owners that were not vested in Dallas. "And the community suffered dramatically," Byrne noted.

Texas was like a laboratory, and finally the government stopped liquidating the banks, seeing the devastation left behind. Bob was caught in the middle because many crooks were operating S&Ls, and so the RTC went after people who owned both real estate and S&Ls--and killed them off--not distinguishing between the good guys and the bad. Byrne commented, "It was unfair to not grade you differently than the other neighbor; they just took out the whole neighborhood. And after that, quite frankly, is when time stopped for Bob."


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