Gambling ads: The good, the bad and the banned

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 2 February 2018
Ben Johnson for Sportsbet

This is an excerpt from the February issue of AdNews. You can subscribe to the print edition or download a digital version here. This content won't appear online, it's exclusive to the magazine.

The fastest growing category of advertising is also one of its most controversial – sports gambling. Three of the top 10 most complained about ads came from betting companies and two, Sportsbet and Neds, were subsequently banned. Here, top creatives from Leo Burnett, Orchard and One Green Bean take a look at the gambling ads that tried to break the mold.

Leo Burnett senior copywriter Karen Ferry: CrownBet is like your fancy man’s betting app. To stand out from the carbon copy suited spokesman of this genre, they went with a woman, which is addressed in her tongue-in-cheek reference to being a betting man. I can’t quite determine why they felt the need to keep her styling so heavily masculine (to the point of a wetsuit dinnersuit), but maybe this will be developed later in the campaign. As a cast talent, she’s quite good at delivering the script’s humour, and it’s nicely done for a category renowned for slapstick or wankers. It’s progressed from where they were, and genuinely tries to be funny. 3 out of 5 pocket squares.

Orchard creative director Tim Condrick: Like all of the ads in this category, this one has some nice production values and runs at a solid pace. Beyond that, I find it a little bit hard to watch. It’s quite transparent in its use of the female talent and it moves through a fairly predictable set of thinly veiled gags at her expense. Overall, I can’t help but feel if you’re betting on your mobile that much, you’d probably be hiding it, and maybe you should talk to someone.

One Green Bean MD Claire Salvetti: There’s an old adage that says if you don’t have something interesting or important to say in your idea, add in a celebrity. And in this instance a blonde, body-painted caricature of a business lady creates a double-take moment as it stands out from the competitors’ tendency to use male ambassadors. It also helps the brand to feel more refined and, frankly, more modern. Although I might question the use of Nicky – is she simply playing the role of posh totty.

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The ads:

1. CrownBet - Better Way to Wager via The Monkeys

2. Sportsbet - Roid in Android via BMF

3. Betfair - The Game within the Game via Saatchi & Saatchi Melbourne

4. Neds - Time to Bet via Ogilvy Brisbane

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