Background & Challenge
With venues in 74 countries, including 175 cafes, 24 hotels, and 11 casinos, Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognized companies. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world’s greatest collection of music memorabilia, which is displayed at its locations around the globe.
In 2017, HardRock was announced as the new operator of the gambling facility at the Rideau Carleton Raceway & Casino and announced plans for a major multi-million dollar renovation to create the Hard Rock Casino Ottawa.
WANT was approached by Hard Rock to evaluate the brand strategy and name transition strategy as the casino went through an initial stage of renovation and launch from the original Rideau Carleton Raceway and Casino but before the full transition/completion of the property.
For the initial re-launch, WANT evaluated and recommended retaining the name ‘Rideau Carleton Raceway and Casino’ while locking-up the brand name with an underlying descriptor: ‘Future Home of the Hard Rock Ottawa’. The main rationale was that the initial re-launch – while a significant improvement from the original venue – only contained a fraction of the planned changes and updates. Therefore, the initial launch did not feel fully ‘on brand’ with the Hard Rock brand, image and reputation.
However, in 2019 once the final renovation is completed, the ‘Rideau Carleton Raceway and Casino’ name will be eliminated and the new casino and hotel officially unveiled as ‘Hard Rock Ottawa’. The new The Hard Rock Ottawa will redefine the gaming experience at (what was) the Rideau Carleton Raceway Casino and help make Ottawa a world-class entertainment destination including four new restaurants; Hard Rock Café, Steakhouse, Noodle Bar, Constant Grind , additional gaming tables and slot machines, Hard Rock Live entertainment theatre and an 8 story, 200-room hotel.