The long-mooted axing of the Sportingbet, TomWaterhouse.com and Centrebet brands into a merged business operating under parent company William Hill's name has this morning finally been confirmed.
Beset by speculation and rumour for over 18 months, the UK-based company has clarified that the online gambling businesses will be consolidated under one brand – William Hill – across Australia.
Sportingbet will be first past the post to undergo a rebrand in the next two months. Centrebet customers will be migrated later in the year onto the William Hill platform, while tomwaterhouse.com will disappear as a brand in early 2016.
Pitches for the creative account are in play and a statement from the winning agency is expected to be released later today. Clemenger BBDO Sydney is understood to be front runner as the creative agency.
IPG Mediabrands' media agency UM will be handling William Hill's media buying account. It has been running the media accounts for Sportingbet, TomWaterhouse.com and Centrebet since mid 2013. It at first had just two of the brands, but then won TomWaterhouse.com from MediaCom.
William Hill says it intends to invest incremental sums of £5m in marketing and other costs to launch the British brand.
William Hill global CEO James Henderson said: “I believe now is the right time to adopt the William Hill brand in Australia. The previous introduction of the ‘powered by William Hill’ branding in that market has seen awareness build and the complete change will further improve our competitiveness, bring greater focus to our marketing and IT investment.”
William Hill began its aggressive Australian expansion in 2013, acquiring Centrebet for $132m, paying $660 million for Sportingbet Australia and a few months on, picking up Tom Waterhouse.com for the lesser figure of $34m.
Tom Waterhouse was made Australia CEO last year. He added: “The change to William Hill will give us a recognised and respected international brand with which to compete at the highest level in Australia’s competitive market.
“It will also allow us to work much more closely with global racing and sporting bodies and provide our Australian customers with more diverse betting opportunities. We’ve seen awareness of the brand build strongly since introducing ‘powered by William Hill’ to the market and now is the right time to launch.”
AdNews previously reported that UM was thought to have added the $17m Tom Waterhouse business to its existing Sportingbet account, while Clemenger is the holder of its creative business.
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