There’s much to see and do each day in San Diego: Mission Beach, the Gaslamp, Petco Park, and more. The fun continues when the sun goes down, as we learn in the :60 “Play.Win.Together.” part of a TV, Radio and Outdoor campaign for Sycuan Casino. Directed by Jeff Apps of Modern Industry Pictures, and created by the client’s in-house team, the spot opens with some of those landmarks - including cameos by Padres legend Steve Garvey, Bill Walton, Rey Mysterio Jr., and beloved baseball mascot The Friar - before making the scene at Sycuan. Through a series of seamless and inventive transitions, Apps delivers a pastiche of gaming, food and entertainment that rounds out the San Diego experience.

“At its core, this is the story of a day in San Diego, catching the first wave and moving inland,” Apps explained. “Everywhere we went, people had kind things to say about Sycuan, which has a genuine, longstanding involvement with the community.” The director noted that the line, “Play.Win.Together.” is not limited to activities inside Sycuan. “Playing and winning speak not just to visiting Sycuan but to San Diego as a whole,” he said, giving props to the Sycuan team, led by Marketing Director Daniel Morales and Creative Director Deric Harven.


“Jeff and I were familiar with one another by reputation. He’s known as a meticulous filmmaker who assembles an amazing team and that notion is well-founded,” said Morales. “On day one, he and I concluded that the sincerity of the Sycuan brand and their casino had to come across in the work,” recalled Morales, adding that the spot has delivered huge returns in terms of customer loyalty and new guests at the casino. “I have to believe that all the positive feedback to this campaign is due to this holistic and innovative approach: it’s a feel-good spot, it’s upbeat, like San Diego itself. This really has crystallized our reputation as an integral part of this city’s everyday life.”

“There’s a great creative synergy between us,” Apps affirmed of his rapport with Morales. “Dan’s constructed a powerful in-house creative department. Our collaboration and the project was a privilege all the way around.” Apps added that he was honored to have Academy Award-winning cinematographer Russell Carpenter (Titanic) on board. “I’ve had the good fortune to work with Russell on other projects and he was available for this shoot so it kind of worked out perfectly,” he said. “We strived to have ‘togetherness’ reflected in those scene transitions. We wanted a fluid, cohesive vibe throughout, where everything was connected on many levels.”

The campaign has generated industry accolades as well, and contributed to Sycuan’s recent nomination as the San Diego Ad Club Brand of the Year, the only such nominee with in-house creative. “The fact that this is a homegrown campaign is very significant,” Morales stated. “We had some wonderful tools at our disposal, and could have done a much bigger, effects-y spot - we had Russell Carpenter! But we were committed to this idea of relatability, and community resonance, that’s our brand. And the homegrown aspect applies to the creative process as well. This commercial is something started from scratch, and we are all very proud of it.”


While Apps is a Los Angeles native, San Diego holds a special place in his heart. While working as a producer on music videos in LA, his weekend job was indulging a profound love of extreme sports. Shooting motocross, skiing, and other events in 16mm, Apps crossed paths with Thor Motocross. It was this San Diego-based brand that gave him a budget to direct his first official project – a spot that aired nationally during the Wide World of Sports. Apps moved into mainstream directing, with work for XBOX, Microsoft, EA Games, UBISoft, K-SWISS, Edison, Intuit, PG&E and Red Bull – to name a few. The director’s work in different genres has armed him with an artistic and technical arsenal he certainly brought to his work for Sycuan. “In resort advertising, there’s a tendency to go very broad,” he said. “The characters in this spot are having fun and are elated, of course. But we worked to create an air of believability while adding elegance and style. In the end, it’s more the kind of fun that exists in the real world.”

Apps’ Modern Industry Pictures is likewise rooted in reality, but not the kind faced by many production companies in the current budgetarily constrained climate. As owner and principal director, Apps has been able to create the model he always wanted – a production company that focuses strictly on creativity, not overhead. “The goal was never to create a huge company,” he explained. “It was to build a great team, and create great work.”

About Modern Industry Pictures
Founded by award-winning director Jeff Apps in 2002, Modern Industry Pictures is one of the most respected production companies in the industry today. Led by Executive Producer Edy Enriquez, in support of directors Apps and Eric Del Greco, our team of production professionals is dedicated to quality and excellence in every way. We create, produce and deliver creative content, commercials, and short films for clients around the world.