Comedian directs and acts in a new
series of ads promoting super-sized payoffs.

Longtime Conan O’Brien sidekick Andy Richter recently stepped behind the
camera to direct a series of ads for the Illinois Lottery. Produced by STORY
for Downtown Partners Chicago, the ads are sequels to an earlier group of spots
that Richter both directed and starred in as Gil Mitchell, an eccentric and
elegantly coifed newsman tasked with informing Illinoisans about huge lottery

In the new spots, Richter returns as
Gil for more goofy hijinks. In one, he compares the Lottery’s “Super Jackpot”
to an oversized toaster. In another, he conducts an “Eye on the Sky” simulation
with a toy helicopter and Bronx cheer-style sound effects. Chicago Blackhawks
star forward Patrick Sharp joins Richter in two spots, one centering on a
one-sided beard-growing competition.

The scripts for the ads were written by Downtown Partners creative
director Dan Consiglio, who then worked with Richter to hone the comedy. “Andy
the tone
of the character really quickly,” Consiglio recalls. “It’s the nature of he
business that he works in to pull together material really quickly, and that
benefitted this process. He nailed the gags so fast.”
Richter compared crafting humor for the ads’ 15-second format to writing
jokes for Twitter. “We really only had 12 seconds and had to pack our ideas
into that brief time,” he recalls. “It’s similar to creating comedy bits for Conan. You work within the constraints
and make it as funny as you can. So much of it is timing.”
Richter began directing commercials through STORY a couple of years ago,
scheduling advertising assignments around his commitments to Conan. For the comedian, who as a young
man worked in commercials as a Chicago-area production assistant, directing ads
has become a second love. “I really enjoy working back in Chicago,” he says. “There
were people on the production whom I’d worked with 25 years ago.”

Illinois Lottery’s Gil Mitchell campaign has been extremely popular and
has done a great job in drawing attention to the game’s giant jackpots. Richter
doesn’t know what the future holds for his newsman alter-ego, but he is
enjoying the ride. “They’re a little odd,” he says of the ads, “but they do
stand out.”
agrees, noting that it’s been an enjoyable campaign all around. “STORY’s
openness and attention to detail was very helpful,” he says. “That, and Andy’s
down-to-earth, Midwestern attitude, made it easy and fun. That’s how it should
represented on the East Coast by SuperPowers (646) 633-4578; in the Midwest by
Dawn Ratcliffe (312) 491-9194, in the Southeast by Miller + Associates, (954)
563-6004; in the Southwest by Gossip!, (214) 288-2813 and on the West Coast by
Sherry Howell, (213) 999-9879.
For more information, visit
Titles:  More
, Gil’s Chair, Flying Car,
Toaster, Chopper, Playoff Beard, Gear
Client:  Illinois Lottery
Agency: Downtown Partners Chicago. Dan Consiglio, Creative
Production: STORY.
Andy Richter, Director; Mark Androw and Cliff Grant, Executive Producers.
Editorial: Optimus,
Chicago. Randy Palmer, editor; Brian Hraster, producer.
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