The Illinois Lottery Salutes The Meaning of Winning in Powerful Spot

OKRP Teams with Director Simon Reinert Telling A Personal Story Amid The Pandemic


May 5, 2020 – A new spot from the Illinois Lottery pays tribute to the winning spirit of the people of the State of Illinois, through the story of a family and how they face the trials of everyday life when the mother in the family cannot go home.  The spot was created by the Lottery’s creative agency, O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul and was brought to life by Chicago director Simon Reinert whose wife Shifra, is a nurse at Northwestern Hospital in downtown Chicago and is featured in the ad.

In developing the new work, OKRP Group Creative Director Aubrey Walker was inspired by the story and music behind The Wiz and the search for home. He was thinking about the many healthcare workers who are self-separating from their families and not able to go home, and he thought that showing the sacrifice through one woman’s experience was also a way to reveal the ethos of what it really means to be a winner. The team at OKRP knew there were challenges for a shoot amid the limitations of the coronavirus pandemic and sought out a local director.

“One of our producers knew Simon and when we presented him with our idea he knew he could make this work, using his own family,” explained Aubrey Walker. “At the heart of our idea is the notion that when someone can’t come home, they realize they take for granted the familiarity of daily life – a coffee cup or a pillow. Simon incorporated that need for connection in such a visceral moment in the film that the emotions just come to life with honesty and authenticity.”

The commercial evolved into a docu-inspired, minute-long piece featuring Simon, Shifra, and their young son – all of whom had never acted before — in their own home and work environments. This also allowed the concept to be executed safely, filmed entirely by Simon at home and edited by his production partners at Minimal productions.

“The Illinois Lottery believes in celebrating what winning means, beyond the financial aspects of winning,” explained Harold Mays, Director of the Illinois Lottery. “For those who are sacrificing something or giving back, they are the real winners here in our state and we want to play our part in reminding everyone that there are good people here doing amazing things.”

The ad will begin airing early in May on local network broadcast in Illinois. In addition to the 60-second spot, there will also be a 30-second version. It will also air on digital and social channels.

“It was a bit of a roll of the dice on if we could tell a narrative story well, with such large production limitations,” explained Laura Fegley, Chief Creative Officer at OKRP. “But the serendipity of finding a family with an important story to tell, that also happened to have a director in it, sold us.  Ultimately having the director literally connected to the story, made for some truly intimate footage.”

The Illinois Lottery plays an important role within the state in giving back 25% of sales to schools and other causes.

“At a time of crisis like now, we thought it was important to show that there are ‘winning stories all over Illinois,’ explained Marisa Zimmerman, Senior Director of Marketing at Camelot, the private company that manages the Lottery in partnership with the State. “This campaign highlights the mission of the Illinois Lottery that goes way beyond the monetary prizes awarded and is part of our connection to supporting the people of the State in many ways.”



About OKRP

Chicago-based OKRP (, named by Advertising Age as a 2019 “A-List Standout Agency” and a 2018 “Agency to Watch,” is a new model independent advertising agency that delivers big brand creativity with start-up ingenuity. With its belief that success as a new model agency relies on the ability to be nimble and to bring together the best talent for its clients, O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul has practiced the “high art of selling” on behalf of clients such as Chili’s, Ace Hardware, Groupon, Illinois Lottery, Illinois Office of Tourism, Nike Chicago and Home Chef among others.


About Illinois Lottery

Founded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed over $20 billion (since 1985) to the state’s Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars to the Capital Projects Fund and to special causes like Illinois Veterans services, the fight against breast cancer, MS research, Special Olympics and assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS. In addition to playing in-store, the Illinois Lottery offers online and mobile play for all draw-based Illinois Lottery games at Players must be at least 18 years old.


About Camelot Illinois

Camelot Illinois is the new private manager of the Illinois Lottery. In partnership with the state, Camelot operates a modern lottery that truly benefits the people of Illinois. Camelot is dedicated to working with transparency, integrity and responsibility to grow the lottery and reinforce its rightful position as a force for good. The company’s innovative approach places consumers and social responsibility at its core, providing funding for schools, capital projects and special causes.