Industry Reports

OLG’s Instant Bingo Ad Campaign Triggers Social Media Backlash

The latest advertising campaign of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has not been met positively on social media where the instant bingo games have been, apparently, marketed towards women. With a couple of three-second videos, the OLG conveys a message that, according to Twitter users, is sexist, degrading and offensive.

The ad that triggered a huge backlash in social media was launched by OLG on May 2 and although the video itself lasted only 3 seconds, it was apparently enough to infuriate almost anyone who saw it. It starts with a woman who looks calmly straight ahead and the next second, her facial expression changes as she holds an instant bingo card. In the second image, she is seen smiling and with “arched and defined” eyebrows, as the Tweet says. Next, we see one of the bingo tickets and a motto that says “Experience the invigorating excitement of bingo!”, while Twitter users are asked what their instant bingo makeover would look like.

The ad was probably intended to make people smile and make them want to try their luck with one of OLG’s instant-win games, which can sometimes create a real makeover of winners’ lives. People also have the option to retweet the message with three options – they can tag “defined brows”, “illuminated glow”, or “bright eyes”. And while all this sounds as if it comes from a makeup ad, OLG may be implying that its customers simply need to purchase a ticket, win big, and their lives and looks can change in an instant, according to some social media users. In fact, there are hardly any positive comments about the ad on the popular platform.

Some users simply said that the advertisement was ridiculous and terrible, while others preferred to be more specific, describing as degrading, thoughtless and offensive. Many of the users also shared their unpleasant experiences with lotteries and gambling as a whole, pointing out that you rarely win anything in any of these games. Some of the comments also link the ad campaign with gambling addictions and compulsive gambling.

Not the First OLG Ad to Receive Criticism

In April, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s Twitter account, OLG Lottery ran another ad that was very similar. It shows another woman – in the first image, she is relaxed and she does not have any makeup, while in the second image, she has a great smile, makeup applied and even earrings added to her look. Once again, users are urged to notice her “invigorated” eyes. The short video is retweeted 5 times and has been liked 42 times, but the comments are not positive, with most people writing that there are too few jackpots and that, in general, it is not easy to win in lotteries, bingo and instant-win games.

The Crown Corporation did not respond to the negative comments of people and media, nor did it issued a statement. While it is obvious that the ads are not particularly amusing or original, they are also not openly offensive or sexist, other social media users have said. The videos, however, imply that you and your entire life can change within seconds when you win the lottery. While this can be true, indeed, it is true for an exceptionally small percentage of the people who play lotteries and similar types of games. And that is what lottery and gambling operators often fail to explain to their customers who usually do not understand how games of chance work.