Dramatic California Lottery Campaign Urges People To “Believe”

A new campaign to spur some California dreaming.

The Powerball is coming to California and the California State Lottery’s mission is to help people believe in opportunity and the idea that they can win. The result is a campaign that’s somewhat of a departure from typical lottery fare. Instead of “imagine if” gags, we have images of things like the women’s suffrage movement, a falling Berlin Wall, and an anthem spot with a dreamier, cinematic feel.


With only 30% of Californians feeling positive about their state lottery, the brand’s new Powerball campaign, spearheaded by agency David&Goliath, aimed to transcend the usual displays of spending and instead alter consumer perceptions of the brand and add meaning by instilling the reminder that anything is possible.

A 60-second ad, directed by celebrated cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, is set to a choir version of “California Dreamin’ ” and features lottery balls falling like snow towards the earth in various locations across California. The spot ends with a visual of the campaign’s tagline “Believe in something bigger. Powerball.”

“Believe” billboards are situated throughout California and will soon be supplemented by iconic images of historical situations in which people have overcome odds through the power of belief. Images include Robbie Knievel’s jump over the Grand Canyon, a women’s suffrage march, Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon, surfer-shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. The “Believe” posters will soon be placed with those encouraging consumers to “Believe in Something Bigger.”

A website features the 60-second commercial, allows consumers to tweet their dreams, and provides options to click through for more information on Powerball.

Rounding out the campaign is a street art component from artist Kurt Perschke called The Red Ball Project. The oversize red balls have appeared in unexpected places around the state and the world and the final red ball will appear at the Powerball launch party in Sacramento on April 10.