William Hill pitches creative after swallowing Tom Waterhouse

By David Blight and Brendan Coyne | 26 September 2013
Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

Betting behemoth William Hill – which owns Tom Waterhouse, Sportingbet and Centrebet – is on the hunt for a local creative agency, amid a major push into the Australian market which could see a consolidation of its brands.

The UK-based sports betting company is spending big in a bid to buy its way to the top of the pile. It spent around $700 million buying Tom Waterhouse in August and Sportingbet (which in turn owns Centrebet) in March. Now it is gearing up for a major marketing assault to pull in the punters.

In a report in the Australian Financial Review earlier this month, William Hill chief executive Ralph Topping said the company plans to scrap the Sportingbet and Centrebet brands from the Australian market, with the William Hill brand likely to take over, in a bid to take on local operations like Tatts Group and Tabcorp which he suggested were “struggling”.

Creative agencies are pitching for the business this week. Agencies are competing for the consolidated Sportingbet and Centrebet business – soon to be rebranded under the William Hill name – but it appears that the Tom Waterhouse brand will remain a separate entity for the time being.

Creative for Tom Waterhouse is currently handled by Fenton Stephens in Melbourne. Meanwhile, MediaCom handles media buying for Tom Waterhouse. The agency quietly won the media business several months ago.

Several sources have speculated that the Tom Waterhouse business will not remain separate for long, suggesting that William Hill will eventually combine all of its Australian brands under a single banner. This would allow the company to consolidate all of its marketing efforts, giving the William Hill brand a better chance of taking on the crowded, but lucrative, Australian sports betting marketplace.

That move would likely lead to another round of pitching, both for media and creative. The odds are that will happen next year.

Currently, the Sportingbet media account sits with UM. Previously The Works handled some creative duties for Sportingbet and Centrebet, but has not worked with the brands since William Hill acquired the businesses.

Earlier in the year, Whybin TBWA Sydney won the Tabcorp business, ousting incumbent BWM.

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