Mohegan Sun takes a gamble with 'stimulus' messaging

With the economic crisis in full force, the Mohegan Sun Casino and Hotel created a back-to-basics PR campaign promoting its value-based offerings.

PR Team: Mohegan Sun (Uncasville, CT) and Regan Communications (New York, Providence, RI, and Boston)

Campaign: Stimulus, Recovery, and Rebound Package

Duration: Late January-March 2009

Budget: $12,000


With the economic crisis in full force, the Mohegan Sun Casino and Hotel created a back-to-basics PR campaign promoting its value-based offerings. AOR Regan Communications' idea for “stimulus” messaging led the entertainment property to provide several new packages, like “No Boys Allowed,” matching the theme, according to Michelle Williams, PR manager of hotel and travel, dining and shopping at Mohegan Sun.

Strategy

“Utilizing tried-and-true PR tactics,” Mohegan Sun, located about an hour from Hartford, CT, sought to make increasingly budget-conscious consumers aware of how the casino and hotel could “stimulate” them with gaming and other offerings, such as concerts and spa treatments, through national and regional outreach, says Nicole Glor, SVP and director of national media relations at Regan Communications. The agency, which has a strong New England presence, including Hartford, CT, used its Boston and Providence, RI, offices to assist with regional outreach while New York, where Glor is based, also handled parts of the national campaign.

The team also promoted new offerings, such as $5 minimum table games and $15-off advanced bookings, and it interwove the “Recovery and Rebound” messaging into advertising and property signage.

Tactics

With many companies using “stimulus” messaging, the entertainment property sought to capitalize on its ability to deliver value-based services by pitching key media, then blitzing dailies, broadcast stations, and other media outlets before the message became oversaturated, Glor says.

The team also utilized online media and social networks, by reaching out to bloggers and creating a Twitter page, which it found resonated with consumers, Glor adds.

Also, the company sent out poker sets left over from a previous event, in addition to Mohegan Sun Notebooks with hand-written details about the casino's value-based services, to top-tier dailies. Additionally, it sent Native American coin purses to fashion outlets to align with Spring style trends.

“We didn't want to do anything flashy,” notes Glor, who emphasized that the team wove messaging into a variety of mediums for the casino, including on-site press visits.


Results

For the month of March, about 1,000 packages were booked, according to Williams. The hotel achieved 98% occupancy for February, in addition to tripling the low-limit gaming options from six to 18 in response to consumer demand during February and March. The hotel packages' Web page garnered more than 93,000 unique visitors during February. Also, media coverage included NYTimes.com, the Boston Globe, and Star magazine.

Future

Moving forward, messaging will continue to be included in the company's communications strategy. “It fits into so many different things, it's just no longer the lead,” Glor says.

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