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Lawrence & Schiller Adds Lottery to Multi-Million State Portfolio

Bob Mercer reports that the South Dakota Lottery is bringing in $5.5 million more this year than last. The lottery must be getting some good advertising…

…but apparently not good enough. Yesterday the lottery commission voted 4–2 to dump its current advertising agency, Robert Sharp & Associates of Rapid City, and hand its two-year, $1.8-million contract to Lawrence & Schiller of Sioux Falls.

Interestingly, Mercer reports that commissioners voted on the Lawrence & Schiller contract without seeing it:

Commissioner Jim Towler of Dakota Dunes asked in several ways several times about how much Lawrence & Schiller would make.

“What Lawrence & Schiller’s piece of that is, I don’t have that answer,” Lingle said.

…Commissioner Bob Hartford of Pierre said knowing that number isn’t the lottery commission’s responsibility.

“I don’t care what Lawrence & Schiller is making. They evidently put together the best presentation,” Hartford said. “I think it’s time to approve what they have done.”

Commissioner Doyle Estes of Hill City…, a Rapid City lawyer and business developer, asked if the contract has been shown to the commission. [Lottery director Norm] Lingle said it hasn’t.

“It’s been through legal,” he said [Bob Mercer, “In Split Decision, Lottery Office Changes Advertising Firm,” Aberdeen American News, 2015.06.12].

Details, schmetails!

Mercer says this is Lawrence & Schiller’s first lottery contract. But the agency has done plenty of work for the state, including the recently splash-making “South Dakota better than Mars” campaign for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the “Don’t Jerk and Drive” campaign for the Department of Public Safety. Mercer catalogs the numerous hooks Lawrence and Schiller already has in South Dakota’s Republican-controlled government:

Of late, Lawrence & Schiller has become integral to many state agencies and offices. During the past 12 months, Lawrence & Schiller received more than $6 million in payments from state government, according to state records.

The firm held state contracts in the past 12 months with the Department of Education, the Board of Regents, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the governor’s invitational pheasant hunt, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Tourism, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Labor and Regulation and the Department of Public Safety.

The firm provided advertising and marketing services for Gov. Dennis Daugaard in his two campaigns in 2010 and 2014 and for the general election campaigns of previous Gov. Mike Rounds in 2002 and 2006.

Laura Mitchell, whose father is Gov. Daugaard, has worked for Lawrence & Schiller since 2006, except for a break to work on the 2010 gubernatorial campaign. She is a digital strategist.

Craig Lawrence, a retired founder of the firm, completed a two-year term as chairman of the South Dakota Republican Party earlier this year [Mercer, 2015.06.12].

It’s good to be the king. And it’s good to be the king’s ad agency.


  1. jerry 2015-06-12 09:56

    Why should republicans give a damn about fair honest business? They have shown with the EB-5 scandal that they could give a care about laws and transparency when it comes to taxpayer dollars. You can even ask them and they will tell that it does not matter how you vote, it only matters who is in charge. Case in point would be the vote we South Dakotans made regarding the minimum wage for all, they did not like it and they changed it. Democracy does not live in Putin’s world nor does it live in Daugaard’s world either. Birds of a feather.

    Robert Sharp and associates were just not right wing enough apparently or may have been to honest. One way or another, this is nothing new to the junta in Pierre.

  2. Dave 2015-06-12 10:08

    With L&S fingers in so many South Dakota pies, we won’t have to wait long for their next ad campaign that will make us, once again, a national laughingstock.

  3. Loren 2015-06-12 10:17

    Hey, we have one party government. Why not one ad agency for the one party? See how Republicans can “streamline” basic government! Efficiency, folks! Efficiency!

  4. mike from iowa 2015-06-12 10:49

    She is a digital strategist. I take that to mean she is the one that flips people the “bird.”

  5. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-06-12 14:11

    Something smells very bad. Again.

  6. Nathan 2015-06-12 14:17

    The mars thing was pretty stupid, but I still think the Don’t Jerk and Drive campaign was genius. It got people talking and raised awareness, in my book that makes for a successful ad campaign.

  7. grudznick 2015-06-12 19:12

    The Mars thing was better. I still don’t understand the other one. I can understand not wanting to die on Mars. So this Larry Shiller guy is 50/50, just different opinions on which is better. The next ad breaks the tie.

  8. Curt 2015-06-12 21:04

    The only thing surprising to me about this very fishy sh-t is that some people still act surprised by it. Oh, and some of our ‘leaders’ still claim straight-faced that this state is not corrupt.

  9. owen 2015-06-12 21:27

    ““I don’t care what Lawrence & Schiller is making. They evidently put together the best presentation,” Hartford said. “I think it’s time to approve what they have done.””

    This is what is sad. People not caring what Lawrence & Schiller are getting?

  10. Roger Cornelius 2015-06-12 23:09

    Since the FBI let Rounds/Daugaard get away with EB-5, the republicans are blatantly rubbing it our faces with a $7.8 million three year state contract of L&S.
    What the hell, it’s only money, OUR MONEY!
    By the time the Daugaard administration is done, we’ll be number one the most corrupt states, not number 2.

  11. Don Coyote 2015-06-12 23:13

    Merchant John Wanamaker said it best: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”

  12. The King 2015-06-13 00:33

    How about we take the $1.8M for promoting gambling and give it to the teachers of SD? I am willing to bet that gambling revenues would continue to increase without its promotion and our teachers could benefit. win-win.

  13. leslie 2015-06-13 08:32

    doyle is on the lottery commission. his wife is on regents board. Regents picked NM rep. heather wilson for sdsm&t pres. regents and NSU committed “EB5”, got away with it, and helped pay lawyers to cover it up along w/ SDGOP legislators and elected officials. NSU is the Homeland Security Center of America’s financial infrastructure. joop worked for NSU and rounds and has moving van’s full of EB5 money and original art, supposedly, or maybe its time to hotfoot it out of SD. don and larry are concerned about Wilson exploiting edgemont shale/ aquifer geology for another national dump for spent nuke material. yet another rapid city developer and new town creator Hagg law firm, has a former legislator, one of the commissioners on the mineral board deciding china’s future in the uranium business in edgemont too. the SDGOP legislators gave away regulatory uranium mining power when asked by the mining applicant. SDDENR recommends all this. Their lawyer sits on the naming board Braveheart has asked to rename Harney peak. that board’s chair may also be a SDDOT lawyer/type and is formally against the rename so as not to confuse tourists. SD conflict laws are vapid.

    do i have all this right? just wondering, as grudz so often does….

    there is only one real reason professionally to be a republican in SD. taxpayers’ unlimited money!! welcome chief allender. stan owns another mayor.

  14. 96Tears 2015-06-13 10:53

    LaVerne & Shirley’s tentacles go far beyond their puppets in Pierre. They’re deep in the Sanford network, KELO, Sanford Leader and the big dogs in the state’s business community. Craig Lawrence’s tenure as GOP Chairman to navigate clients Mike Rounds and Daugaard through their EB-5 mess signaled they no longer care to stay out of plain sight. Their Don’t Jerk and Mars ads signal they no longer care if their work is pure shit.

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