Arizona Indian Gaming Association “THIS IS OUR WAY” campaign



The main goal of the “This is Our Way” campaign of 2013 was to raise awareness about the benefits of Tribal Gaming, how much revenue is generated for the state (almost $1 billion dollars to date) and where the money specifically goes (Education, Trauma Care, Public Safety, Conservation, Tourism and greater Tribal Self-Reliance.) The purpose of this initial campaign was to raise awareness about the benefits of the tribal gaming compact among active voters in targeted markets and subsequently all Arizonans within the State.


The paid media portion of the campaign included antecedent market research, such as focus groups, to identify and target the best and most receptive audience. Focus groups were also used to measure levels of awareness, assumptions, and message testing to produce the most effective approach. The messaging of the multi-media campaign was focused around what motivated and moved the identified demographic group. The campaign utilized limited television advertising (:30 second spots) and radio promotion (:30 and :60 second spots) via geo-targeted media buys and placement intended to saturate specific zip codes that contained a higher-than-normal density of our target demographic. Our television and radio outreach was accompanied by the use of geo-targeted online and outdoor billboards. The earned media piece of the campaign included getting stories, articles and opeds about the benefits of gaming and how they contribute to our five principle areas (Education, Trauma Care, Conservation, Tourism, Public Safety and Tribal Self-Reliance) successfully placed in various newspapers and publications statewide; such as the Arizona Republic, Phoenix Business Journal, and Arizona Capitol Times.

The overall goal of the social media campaign was to create conversations and engagement around the benefits of Tribal Gaming by using real-world events and stories of communities, cities and individuals benefiting from Tribal Gaming revenues shared via the Arizona Benefits Fund, which is specifically earmarked to fund Education programs, Trauma Care, Public Safety, the Arizona Office of Tourism and Conservation via the Department of Game and Fish. The social media campaign also covered stories and examples of events and contributions to local cities and towns described as “12% monies”, which is the portion of gaming revenues Tribes disburse and share locally.

The Social Media aspect of the project included designing, building and maintaining the interactive website BenefitingArizona.org, which serves as the central repository for the facts, details and many success stories throughout the state that stem from the Compact’s negotiated revenue sharing agreements. The website also provides interactive features that encourage visitors to engage with the materials and messaging quickly, as well as more in-depth information for those who want to delve further. The site includes visitor information capture, press materials, photos and video vignettes that create an engaging, emotional experience with visitors. Social media efforts also included the creation and management of a Facebook page associated with the campaign, I Am Arizona / I Am for Arizona, (Facebook.com/ForArizona) and corresponding Twitter feed (@IAm4AZ).

The core messaging of the campaign: that the Tribal-State Gaming Compact provides many real, tangible benefits that impact all Arizonans, is disseminated through the Facebook and Twitter feeds via the use of engaging photos, interactive weekly quizzes, trivia and heartfelt stories. In order to grow our user base in a conversation, content in our social media campaign fluctuates between stories about the benefits of gaming and great things/places/events and stories about Arizona in general. In this way our content engages viewers with a positive message about Arizona first, and then works in stories on Tribes, Tribal Culture and the benefits of Tribal Gaming over time. The split between stories about Arizona and/or Tribal Culture in general versus Tribal Gaming specifically was about an 80/20 respectively. The site can be viewed at www.BenefitingArizona.org. After a process of design and feedback with the Gaming Association’s steering committee and executive director, the website was submitted for and won unanimous approval from the Tribal Board of Directors, which is comprised of Tribal Leaders representing 17 of Arizona’s tribes that conduct gaming. The website is the central hub and repository for success stories of the Gaming Compact throughout Arizona and plays a key role in the related social media campaign to increase discussion and awareness around the 10-year anniversary of the Tribal-State Gaming Compacts.


In late November 2013, post-campaign polling took place to evaluate the impact of the campaign. Our polling before and after the campaign demonstrated awareness growing almost 20% among our target demographic. Just as importantly, our polling shows that those who were “not aware” of the benefits of Tribal Gaming decreasing almost 25%. In addition, those who stated they did not support tribal gaming decreased by 10%. In all, we raised awareness of the benefits of Tribal Gaming, and decreased the numbers who were either unaware or did not support it.

The “This is Our Way” campaign of 2013 and 2014 is an excellent start to ensuring that all Arizonans understand how effective and important Tribal Gaming is to Tribes, the State and all Arizonans. With its success, the Arizona Indian Gaming Association partners with Avant Strategies to continue and expand this message into 2014. For it is not enough to celebrate the successes of the past, we must also celebrate what’s working and why. We are all in this together, and together with Arizona’s unique, diverse tribes working with businesses and entrepreneurs to ensure greater growth and success for even more Arizonans in the years to come.


Rebranding Wild Horse Pass for the Gila River Indian Community’s Development Authority

Goals & Objectives

Our principle goal was to turn the sprawling, diverse collection of property assets into a one-of-a-kind, unified entertainment destination. The property as a whole encompasses a myriad of entertainment experiences that range from the Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino to the Koli Equestrian Center. Guests can awake with a healing morning massage at the Aji Spa, race through lunch at the Bondurant School of racing and spend the afternoon shopping at the Premium® Outlet Mall. Our task was to create a distinctive, iconic brand that unified all of these properties in order to better cross-market each of them during a visitor’s stay. Our immediate challenges were three-fold. We were charged with creating logo and brand assets that complimented each of the existing logos, color-schemes and unique aesthetics of every property without modifying, altering or in any way changing the existing brand assets; which are controlled by their own respective property owners. Our logo had to compliment a diverse range of fonts, colors and styles, from the nationally recognized, warm, welcoming “S” of the Sheraton Hotel logo to the action and excitement of the Wild Horse Pass Raceway. In addition, our logo designs must have earned the approval of every property manager before being presented to the Wild Horse Pass Development Authority Board for final approval.

The Approach

Creating an iconic brand

Wild Horse Pass offers unique and exciting entertainment options for everyone, be they kids, families, singles or business executives. Whether it’s gaming at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino, racing around the racetrack at Bondurant Racing School, catching a gunfight at Rawhide or enjoying an unforgettable dinner at Kai, Arizona’s only 5-diamond restaurant, there is truly something for everyone at Wild Horse Pass. Our challenge was to create a brand identity that not only captured this diverse suite of entertainment options, but do so by reflecting the rich cultural and spiritual essence of its O’odham people, the Gila River Indian Community.

This was the most important aspect of our task and one we took very seriously. Our design had to look good against each of the many logos within Wild Horse Pass, but also stand as an iconic tribute to the land and its people. It had to look good in print, etched into stone, in full color or black and white, it had to work when small, such as a tag on the bottom of a website, or large, such as on a highway exit sign. The logo had to be unique in itself, but also identifiable to a unique place and space.

Uniting the Properties

Our brand audit of the property revealed that Wild Horse Pass grew in a disparate collection of brands, venues, entertainment options, fonts and colors:

  • Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino
  • Shula’s American Steak House
  • Rawhide Western Town
  • Whirlwind Golf Club
  • Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort
  • Aji Spa
  • Kai, Arizona’s only 5-Diamond restaurant
  • Phoenix Premium Outlets
  • Koli Equestrian Center
  • Bondurant School of High Performance Driving
  • Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park

Each property offered an amazing, unique experience, but few, if any, connected to the each other.  Our task was to begin uniting the space so when someone heard of a concert they wanted to see at the Rawhide pavilions, they also remembered the opportunity to turn their time into a weekend get-away at the Sheraton Resort. Or perhaps plan an extra day of a conference stay for a round of golf at Whirlwind, one of the Valley’s best Troon courses.

Building Support for the Brand

Our design process began with interviewing each of the property managers and some employees to understand their goals, objectives, wants and needs for their own respective property, but also to see how those objectives complimented the larger whole. With that information in hand our designers drafted a core group of logo designs and implementation examples to show just how the suggested designs would look and compliment each core property’s existing brand. Every round of design called for presentations, feedback and refinement from each of the property managers over a four-month timeline.

Finally, the process narrowed to four design options that earned the unanimous approval of every property manager. These were then presented for further feedback and refinement to the Wild Horse Pass Development Authority Board.


After an additional round of refinements based on feedback from the “WHPDA” Board, our new logo was presented and approved by the Board for full implementation by their internal marketing team. Today, our logo and brand guidelines are being implemented property-wide, with new directional signage and marketing assets that achieve a consistent look and feel across each of the properties. In the coming months Wild Horse Pass will be updating their brochures, additional signage and, most importantly, their new cross-marketing initiatives.

All in all, the work of Avant Strategies was the beginning of a multi-year unifying project still underway. We’re excited to be a continuing part of that process and look forward to their continued growth and success.

After an additional round of refinements based on feedback from the “WHPDA” Board, our new logo was presented and approved by the Board for full implementation by their internal marketing team. Today, our logo and brand guidelines are being implemented property-wide, with new directional signage and marketing assets that achieve a consistent look and feel across each of the properties. In the coming months Wild Horse Pass will be updating their brochures, additional signage and, most importantly, their new cross-marketing initiatives.

All in all, the work of Avant Strategies was the beginning of a multi-year unifying project still underway. We’re excited to be a continuing part of that process and look forward to their continued growth and success.

Magellan Health Services of Arizona


When Magellan Health Services, the manager of Maricopa County’s  public behavioral health system since 2007, decided to bid for the new contract, they hired Avant Strategies to help tell their story so that their excellent work could continue. Avant was also tasked with creating greater awareness about the Magellan capabilities and resources to achieve the parameters of the new contract in effective and innovative ways.

Through an aggressive and comprehensive “air game,” Avant positioned Magellan as the best partner for the State of Arizona to continue to manage the public behavioral health system, including the new components of physical health management, by broadly communicating the successes in public behavioral health achieved between 2007 and 2014. We also highlighted their expanded service capabilities in physical health management through new partnerships.


After over six years of service in Maricopa County, there were many success stories that we leveraged to tell Magellan’s story. A pivotal component of Avant’s strategy was to celebrate those successes in the media through partnerships and relationships with the local community. We strategically maximized the Community section of the Arizona Republic to submit geographically specific pieces that highlighted Magellan’s role in Phoenix, Glendale, Chandler, Mesa, and other communities. Stories were bylined primarily by third party endorsers discussing collaboration with Magellan on key initiatives that helped advance the system of care.

We also developed strong visual stories for our television audiences. In addition, we partnered with other service agencies, such as the AASK and the Department of Economic Security, to develop assets, events and materials that demonstrated Magellan’s commitment to the community. For example, we developed an informational “tool-kit” for foster parents that included a wealth of resources such as where to find assistance, counseling and community support for their families. Finally, we created content, talking points and overall messaging for Magellan’s use while meeting with key municipal leaders, local providers and Chambers of Commerce. This included our Celebrate Success Provider Breakfast, where Magellan thanked the 70 providers in attendance for their partnership in helping advance the system over the past six years.

All of this ensured Magellan’s story would be seen and heard by the key members, influencers, decision makers, and leaders in the community.


Avant was successful in telling Magellan’s success story, earning over 100 media hits in publications like The Arizona Republic, Tucson Daily Star, East Valley Tribune, the Phoenix Business Journal, and the local NBC affiliate. We increased awareness of the company’s effective handling of the previous contract and highlighted its role in the communities it served. These efforts not only supported Magellan’s local reputation, but continue to pay dividends to their national presence, as well.





A few of our clients