Don’t Drink to Get Drunk

Responsible Gaming Strategy

Nov 11, 2022

Imagine for a moment that you are summoned to a college campus for your expertise. The leaders of the college or university are trying to curb binge drinking on campus and are relying on you to use your expertise. They want you to create the messaging which will be used for an upcoming campaign in hopes of reducing the problem.

After many months of thought, you come back to the leaders with your tagline for the campaign: “Don’t Drink to Get Drunk”. You explain to the leaders that your message will be supported by reminders that drinking should be done in moderation to keep it fun. In your head, everything seems to be going great as the leaders are nodding along in agreement.

Then, someone listening in from the hallway steps into the room and raises their hand as if to ask a question. For a long time, no one notices and all of the plans to roll out the campaign are finalized. Eventually, someone from the leadership team spots them and says “Is there something we can help you with?”

“I’m sorry for interrupting, but I overheard your plan as I was walking by. I understand your thought on using “Don’t Drink to Get Drunk”, but I wonder if it might miss the mark as it seems like getting drunk is exactly what the target audience wants to do when drinking. It’s a primary reason they drink. And they likely hope their classmates get drunk as well as it might increase their odds of hooking up. Sure, it’s a form of entertainment, but their main objective seems to be getting drunk so I’m not sure it will connect with them.”

I’m sure you can see the issue I’m looking to highlight with responsible gambling messaging. When we lead with “don’t gamble to make money” or “gamble for entertainment only”, we set our campaigns up to fail as they don’t land with an audience. There’s a good chance these messages are being tuned out before we even get the opportunity to explain WHY someone shouldn’t use gambling as a way to make money.

Overall, we need to do a better job of understanding the target market, acknowledging why many of them gamble (hint: to make money), and creating messaging that has a better chance of landing with them. The more time an advertiser spends walking in the shoes of their target audience, the more they can fully understand how they think and what campaigns might work to drive behavior change.

And if you’re not sure where to start, let’s connect.

Jamie combined his professional background as a brand strategist with his experience as a former problem gambler to create dyve. He is also host of The After Gambling Podcast.

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