Review: Betting operators battle it out with advert campaigns

By Sehaj Dhillon

The delayed Euro 2020 campaign is now just around the corner and, as expected, betting brands were quick to launch advertising campaigns – to build momentum around the much-anticipated tournament.

Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and William Hill are the three betting operators that launched their adverts suspiciously close to each other last week; however, all three showcased something different. Each advert reflects each brand's image differently, while also portraying the same tournament in separate ways.

Kicking off with Ladbrokes, the most unique advert out of the three features 190 drummers, 200 extras and even some visual effects.

Ladbrokes has opted to go with a more tension-focused advert, highlighting the emotions football fans go through during a critical moment (such as a penalty).

In fact, the whole advert is actually concentrating on what seems to be a decisive penalty; as a player puts the ball down, viewers are met with the energetic sound of drums.

The drum patterns then gradually build in conjunction with the footballer taking the spot-kick and ends with “this time we play together” to unite fans and possibly drummers. Ladbrokes wanted its campaign to support the music industry by raising awareness of the challenges more than 700,000 musical professionals faced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The William Hill and Paddy Power adverts took a different approach.

For instance, where Ladbrokes used a heavier and rock and roll backing track from the rock band The Subways, William Hill went with Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline.

The quieter advert looks to explore the betting community in general rather than focusing solely on the Euros, so if you aren’t a football fan this may be the advert for you.

If you’ve seen a Paddy Power advert before, you know what to expect: it will include the iconic Paddy Power voiceover, some motion shots and overall be quite tongue in cheek

Seen in the minute-and-a-half clip is football fans playing 5-a-side, people betting on horses and those watching football and darts with friends.

The slogan of this advert is “it’s who you play with,” as it aims to portray a closer-knit sports betting group; however, since it isn’t focused on the Euros, William Hill has missed a chance in going toe to toe with its rivals and launching a football-based campaign.

However, William Hill did say it would be launching a more “international creative” that will go live ahead of the European tournament, so this could allow it to segregate from the other two and gain more traffic.

Last up is Paddy Power. If you’ve seen a Paddy Power advert before, you know what to expect: it will include the iconic Paddy Power voiceover, some motion shots and overall be quite tongue in cheek.

The latest ad with Peter Crouch has just that; much like the classic Paddy Power advert with Rhodri Giggs, this one has Peter Crouch walking through and making comments.

The former footballer walks through crowds of different football fans while discussing betting on the Euros and offering humorous 'tips' like “If your team's not to scratch just switch to a better one”.

And of course, it ends with the traditional Paddy Power voicer-over that encourages you to use the brand for the Euros and a last shot of Peter Crouch being berated.

In conclusion, all adverts did a good job of summing up the fan experience, as well as positively displaying betting in sports.

This perhaps has added importance during the delicate current climate, with broadcaster ITV saying it will "significantly reduce" gambling adverts during the Euros to try and help reduce problem gambling. 

Overall, William Hill missed an obvious trick by not introducing a Euros campaign alongside its rivals; but as mentioned before this could benefit the operator longer term.

Ladbrokes and Paddy Power show a different spirit around the Euros. While some may prefer the dynamic drummer-based Ladbrokes campaign, I feel Paddy Power has once again perfected a very simple yet effective way of advertising.

The casual, care-free and generally cheery tone of Paddy Power adverts is something that works very well and, therefore, for me it’s Paddy Power’s Crouch advert that beats the other two. 

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