Who: BCLC (PlayNow Sports), with One Twenty Three West for strategy and creative, with media handled by Cossette Media.
What: “Waterfall Ad Break,” a new campaign promoting the lottery corporation’s online gambling site by offering viewers of the Stanley Cup Final a respite from the barrage of ads for online sports betting services (such as the Bet365 ad featuring former Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul).
When & Where: The 15-second spot debuted during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday, running throughout the series.
Why: The sheer number of sports betting ads running during the Stanley Cup playoffs has become something of a hot-button topic, with one recent estimate pegging the amount of gambling ads during a second-round game between the Toronto Maple Leafs (remember them?) and Florida Panthers at nearly eight minutes.
While PlayNow Sports is currently the only legal gambling website in B.C., Ontario ads are spilling into the province through the national broadcast, said One Twenty Three West founder and creative director Bryan Collins.
How: The creative approach was inspired by recent Ipsos study entitled “Don’t Gamble on Advertising Effectiveness,” which found that 61% of respondents thought all sports betting ads looked the same. The study also noted a marked increase in negative social sentiment towards sports betting advertising.
BCLC and 123W dispensed with the celebrity-driven approach of so much sports betting advertising, instead showing a thundering waterfall accompanied by the sound of birdsong. “At PlayNow Sports, even we could use a break from typical sports betting ads,” reads the opening super, before the spot urges viewers to enjoy the rest of the game.
“While PlayNow.com still needs to continue to compete in the sports-betting category as BC’s only legal gambling website, we’re aware of the sheer volume of sports-betting ads out in the marketplace right now,” said Jessica Bieniasz, BCLC’s senior specialist, sports brand and advertising. “This ad airing during the final round of the playoffs is a simple way to acknowledge what’s happening while also standing apart from the crowd and showing how PlayNow.com does things differently.”
And we quote: “If you watch hockey, you’re also going to watch a lot of sports-betting ads. We’re always looking for ways to disrupt what’s happening in the marketplace. We think that hockey fans will appreciate our wry take on them.” — Allan Topol, creative director, One Twenty Three West