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Nothing beats friends in the know

THE Brand Agency’s successful bid for the $5 million Burswood Resort Casino account is a hard blow for both Marketforce and the Shorter Group.

It’s been a particularly difficult six months for the Shorter Group agency with the loss of the Dale Alcock account to 303 after the million dollar Masters Dairy account was moved to Whybin TBWA & Partners in Melbourne as part of the consolidation of National Foods’ advertising late last year.

The Brand Agency will be taking on some new staff to handle the increased workload of the Burswood account, although there won’t be any major changes at the top level, The Brand Agency account director Steve Harris said.

“We see this as a fantastic opportunity and I think it helps to redefine and reposition us in the Perth market,” he said.

“We will need more people to handle the account, but we’re not in any urgent hurry.”

As part of its pitch for the Burswood business, The Brand Agency sought expertise in Asia through partnerships with a number of different agencies in the region.

“We thought we needed an on-the-ground partner to give us some local understanding,’ Mr Harris said.

Gambling is a serious export earner for the Australian economy, accounting for a substantial chunk of the advertising industry’s multi million dollar income.

And casinos are big business in Australia.

Currently there are 13 legal casinos operating in Australia, generating an annual income of $3 trillion in 1999-2000, an increase of 9 per cent on the previous year, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

These are figures the marketing machines surrounding resort casinos like Burswood shy away from.

Gambling has the dubious distinction of maintaining a public profile almost as poor as the tobacco industry.

In fact, gambling, tobacco and alcohol almost go hand in hand in the public perception of casinos, and yet the industry continues to throw out glossy, glamorous images of young people having fun to market these complexes.

Star City, Crown Casino and Burswood Resort Casino all lean very heavily on a total entertain-ment experience idea to sell their product.

Gambling is necessarily positioned as an optional add-on to dancing, dining, drinking or sleeping at the resort.

“At a resort like Burswood, while we have the casino we also have much, much more,” Burswood Resort Casino marketing manager Laura Lewis said.

“We regard ourselves as an entertainment centre. While some may come primarily for the blackjack, for example, some come here just to dance.”

While the international guests at the casino represent a smaller population than the domestic market, they are a more valuable and lucrative group.

“The international market is smaller than the domestic but obviously it is a growth oppor-tunity,” Ms Lewis said.

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