PlayNow Sports, the sports betting brand of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, has launched a TV spot during the Stanley Cup Finals to engage hockey fans tired of excessive betting ads. The spot cleverly acknowledges the frustration and takes a non-promotional approach. The website aims to stand out and capture viewers’ attention in the saturated market.
While PlayNow remains the sole legal online sports betting platform in the province, local viewers are constantly exposed to betting ads from national placements and brand integrations through team, league, and broadcaster sponsorships. By offering viewers a respite from these typical tropes, the platform aims to distinguish itself and increase future consideration.
New Spot is a Breath of Fresh Air
The TV spot showcases a powerful B.C. waterfall, accompanied by soothing birdcalls, while cleverly addressing the frustration surrounding excessive betting ads. It defies the conventions of typical sports betting advertisements, functioning as an anti-advertisement that subtly promotes the brand without relying on flashy visuals, energetic music, or persuasive spokespersons commonly seen in the industry.
Incorporating recent Ipsos research findings, the TV spot highlights the monotony of sports betting ads, with 61% of respondents perceiving them as indistinguishable. Furthermore, it leverages the insight that social media witnessed a significant surge in negative opinions towards sports betting ads, five times higher than the previous year, coinciding with the legalization of single-game sports betting in Canada.
Allan Topol, creative director at 123w, which is PlayNow’s partner agency, commented that recently hockey games have started featuring tons of sports wagering commercials. He continued by adding that the agency was always seeking ways to disrupt the current ad trends in the market, and he believes that local bettors will be keen on the new and unique spot.
Jessica Bieniasz, a senior specialist for sports brand and advertising at the BCLC, acknowledges the intense competition faced by PlayNow as the sole legal gambling website in British Columbia. Recognizing the overwhelming presence of sports betting ads in the market, she highlights their approach as a means to both acknowledge the situation and differentiate themselves from the crowd.
Its spot is not the first time that the BCLC has tried a different marketing approach for its sports betting platform. In March this year, it debuted a spot which compared everyday gamblers and professional sports athletes, in an attempt to promote responsible gambling practices among players. The campaign was developed with help from PS&Co Brand Studio.
Enhancing Anti-Money Washing Efforts
At the same time, the Crown corporation is always working on improving its services to better serve the Province of B.C. In January 2023, it announced that it has adopted Everi Holdings Inc’s Everi Compliance Anti-Money Laundering solution. Now, the technology has been integrated across the BCLC’s land-based facilities and online gaming platform.
Source: Crann, Justin “PlayNow gives hockey fans a break from betting ads” Strategy Online, June 5, 2023