Even if you lose, your hometown wins, says Proline

Who: Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, with The Hive for strategy and creative, with Asymetric for production (directed by Brooks Reynolds), School and Feather for post-production, Berkeley for audio, and MediaCom for media.

What:“Not Just Another Sportsbook,” a campaign that takes the unusual step—for a gambling brand—of talking about what it means to lose a bet.

When & Where: An integrated campaign running across TV, online, out-of-home and in-store. It launched in September and runs through to the holidays.

Why: Ontario has been awash in sports betting advertising since the province widely expanded the legalized gambling market earlier this year. Before that, effectively the only sports betting option was the government-run Proline, which returns proceeds back to the province.

That’s an important point of differentiation for OLG’s Proline and online version Proline+, and the reason why its brand leaders and The Hive felt they could talk about losing, because that is a “silver lining.”

“Now that Proline has a fully competitive digital platform offering, the biggest difference between Proline and the rest of the category is where the money goes,” explained Dustin Rideout, The Hive’s chief strategy officer, in a release. “When you bet with Proline, 100% of the profits are reinvested to make Ontario better.”

How: The campaign is anchored by a TV spot in three parts. It opens with the upbeat tone of most sports gaming campaigns: friends watching a hockey game on TV, Proline bets in their hands, while the narrator talks excitedly about “your chance to win.”

Suddenly the tone darkens: “But what if there’s a bad bounce or injury? Your bet could lose,” he says ominously. The bright vibe quickly returns, however, as he explains that even if you lose, 100% of the profits go back to the province. (Though a late goal makes the gamblers winners anyway.)

Along with that spot, Proline has new advertising featuring Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares, who was just announced as a brand ambassador for OLG and Proline earlier this month—the first deal OLG has signed with a major sports athlete.

Tavares grew up around the GTA, and famously returned to play for his beloved Maple Leafs in 2018.

“John Tavares was the perfect partner for Proline. He’s a hard working, lead-by-example player who came back to Ontario to play for his hometown,” said Maxine Chapman, VP, brand and marketing officer at OLG. “The video introduces the partnership along with the idea that both Tavares and Proline are playing for the ‘home team’.”

The 30-second spot focuses entirely on Tavares in his Maple Leaf uniform, skating and stick-handling the puck on an empty rink while a narrator explains the connection to his hometown, and how OLG profits go to hometowns across Ontario.

And we quote: “We believe that sports bettors are also Ontarians who care about these things, and when all things are equal, will support the sportsbook that supports them back.” — Ryan Speziale, associate creative director, The Hive

David Brown