As the country’s leading casino advertising agency, it was not all that unusual for RPM Advertising to have a slot machine in its office. The 20-year vintage “Groovy Shoes” machine had been a gift from the owner of client Horseshoe Casino many years ago, so it had sentimental value.
Over time, however, it had been gathering dust , since an operating slot machine was considered illegal gambling in a private setting.
Earlier this year, VP/account director Sarah Russell was inspired. Since the agency had a kegerator beer dispenser for Happy Hour, why not combine the two devices into a convenient “Sloterator.” Pull down the long-handled arm and hit a jackpot of a cold glass of beer at the end of the day.
CEO Steve Platcow loved the idea. He decided to make it a gift to staff and unveil it at RPM’s 20th anniversary office cocktail party in early April.
The ideal company to convert “Groovy Shoes” into “Groovy Brews” was Rick’s Restoration of Las Vegas, also the subject Discovery Channel’s popular “American Restoration” series.
“Restoration’s” New York production company snapped up the concept when Platcow and president Mark Malin pitched it, and they set it up as a standalone 30-minute episode, which aired in March.
On the show, Platcow and Malin met with owner Rick Dale to present him with the challenge of converting the vintage slot machine into the Sloterator. Dale didn’t display much interest, but his wife Kelly Dale liked it and took on the project management.
She brought in a slot machine technician (this is Vegas, remember) to work out the mechanical issues to ensure the device’s functionality throughout the restoration.
Then there was the issue of cost, $12,000 by Dale’s estimate. It might’ve seemed pricey, except for the fact that Dale was dealing with a couple of savvy marketing pros.
“We paid $12,000 for the Sloterator, yes, but think of the exposure we were getting on television. RPM was mentioned four times on the show, and we even had a client testimonial,” Platcow notes. “It’s like a campaign on how innovative RPM is, integrating branding into the product itself.”
RPM is a full service agency that works in many production categories but is vertical in gaming. “When the prohibition against gaming advertising lifted after 15 years, we developed specific knowledge about the gaming industry that doesn’t exist anywhere else,” says Platcow.
Like any committed adman, Platcow says he learned all of the casino games. “My number one favorite game is craps, I do enjoy that — and blackjack.”
“But anyone who starts an ad agency at age 28,” Platcow smiles, “is a committed gambler.
RPM will expansively celebrate its two decades of success with a party at the Cultural Center for 500 guests in August.
See the video here.