The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) is highlighting the similarities between professional athletes and the everyday people who gamble on them in its latest bid to urge bettors to exercise restraint.
Developed for its GameSense responsible gaming program with creative agency PS&Co Brand Studio, the new campaign targets two key issues that the Crown corporation has identified as common among sports bettors.
“Sports are often a social occasion. We get together with friends or family to watch games at home or at a restaurant, or we’re surrounded by other fans at the arena or stadium. Not only that, but online communities, fantasy leagues and social media all enhance the communal aspects of sports,” explains Ruan van Gend, senior specialist for brand and advertising with BCLC. “Sports are also live – fast-paced and full of exciting moments that can create the sense of urgency that sports bettors don’t want to miss out on … It’s fun, but it all makes it easy to get lost in the action.”
“We know there’s some unique features around the pace and social settings that we wanted to target,” adds Ryan McCarthy, director of player health at the Crown corporation. “This campaign is an example of how we’re trying to evolve the brand to address the issues players are facing when they use our products.”
The campaign directly addresses these two issues through creative spanning multiple channels, including TV, OLV, radio, digital, OOH and social. One of two spots likens a potential bettor to a football quarterback facing “a lot of pressure” – but from a friend, rather than the opposing defense. The other, meanwhile, encourages bettors to take timeouts like their favourite basketball team might.
“Since our target audience consists of sports bettors and fans, we wanted to speak their language and connect with them in a way that they’d recognize, relate to and respect,” explains van Gend. “A lot of time and work goes into what athletes do – they train, strategize and plan. Betting on sports might not require that same level of commitment, but that doesn’t mean sports betting doesn’t require preplanning and strategy to make it fun and responsible.”
The campaign supports BCLC’s GameSense program, which was launched in 2008 with the mission to “inform and educate players around the risks associated with gambling, how games work and how they can make better choices for healthier and safer play,” McCarthy says. It has put specific focus on single-event sports betting since it became legal in the province in August 2021, including by partnering with BetMGM and messaging around safe betting behaviours and gambling myths.
Cossette handled media for this campaign.