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05 July 2010

Ray Charles In Commercials For New Jersey Lottery (2000 - 2002)

Ray's involvement in this and other lottery commercials between 2000 and 2002 had everything to do with a licensing program of MDI Entertainment, allowing (according to an MDI press release):
"[...] state lotteries to team up with the legendary Ray Charles".
"The New Jersey Lottery and its advertising agency Grafica, Inc. developed a campaign incorporating the singing talents and trademark voice of the incomparable Mr. Charles. A special song forms the sound track of television and radio commercials for New Jersey. The distinctive signature of Mr. Charles deep and raspy singing voice is 'branding' the lottery with a new advertising slogan: For every dream, there's a jackpot. [...].
MDI President and CEO Steve Saferin said Director Haines and the creative minds at the New Jersey Lottery seized the opportunity to brand their new theme with the unmistakable voice and style of Mr. Charles.
This is just the second venture for MDI with Mr. Charles, but we believe it has ushered in a whole new category of entertainment licensing services. The magic of Ray Charles has a wholesome and universal appeal, and he has so many talents to offer to our clients, Mr. Saferin said.
The New Jersey Ray Charles project brought together an impressive team of talented people. The song lyrics were created by Jon Harcharek of the New Jersey Lottery's advertising agency, Grafica, Inc. The music for the song was composed by Victor Vanacore II, famous conductor of orchestras for Johnny Mathis, Barry Manilow and Ray Charles. The back-up vocals were provided by Michael Bolton's singers. Musicians participating in the recording session included Wayne Bergeron, Mike Vaccaro and Andy Martin. [...]."
The New Jersey Lottery, ran from 2000 to 2002. The campaign, based on a two-year, $10 million advertising contract, entailed "[...] television, radio and print advertising, as well as outdoor and Internet duties for Ads By Google".
One 30-second spot took a "newsy approach" to tout the lottery's switch from the Big Game to Mega-Millions in 2002. This commercial opened with Ray Charles singing, "There's something big coming from the New Jersey Lottery". A reporter then cut in with a "Special Mega-Alert," informing viewers that "it's Mega-madness throughout New Jersey. Prepare yourself. Mega-jackpots are hitting now." The spot ends with the tagline, "Mega-millionaires wanted."
Adweek (Apr. 17, 2000) described "[...] two 30-second TV spots touting the Lawrenceville, N.J., client's Pick 3 and Celebrating 30 Years--2000 games. As a woman plays a game in a store in one ad, a light envelops her in a dreamlike state, within which she enjoys a new home and yard. The other spot shows a man who, after the light shines, drives his own dream: a vintage car. During the action, Charles sings in his unique way. [...] Spots run on broadcast and cable TV through May. Spending on the effort is $1.6 million."

The 40-second "Where Money Goes" commercial (not described above) had a corporate character and a special version of the (dull!) jingle:


The following commercials may or may not follow the script-line described in the press release quoted above (the story-lines are not very distinctive anyhow).

Pick 3, Pick 4 (15"):

Pick 3, Pick 4 (30"):

Pick 6 (15"):

This 30" version seems to follow yet an other script:

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