If you were new to the space and spent a week poking around the problem gambling landscape, you would surely come to know advertising as a primary point of concern for advocates looking to reduce harm. Forget a week; it would only take a few hours to discover fear of advertising on college campuses, within sports, during certain hours when kids are awake, to those with a gambling problem, using certain words, phrases, or imagery, and a host of other issues.
I’m confident the newbie would quickly understand and support the gambling advertising = bad point of view. And I’m not here to say they would be wrong. Advertising and marketing have long influenced and manipulated society’s beliefs and consumer behaviors.
I know this stuff. I have worked in the field my entire professional career.
There is no need for me to write much more on the power, influence, and dangers of gambling advertising.
Yes, they work!
Instead, I hope to use my skills learned to manipulate inspire you to see an opportunity in the carnage.
As I see it, proof of target audience is falling victim to gambling adverts represents a path forward. Knowing they work shows proof of concept.
That path forward will provide hope. Hope that advocates can use the power of advertising and marketing to ALSO reach this target audience and begin a battle of ideas within their hearts and minds.
The next step is to ask “Why aren’t our efforts working also?”
Where advocates and promoters of responsible or problem gambling have gone wrong is that we have completely failed to recognize and acknowledge the hopes, dreams, or aspirations of the target audience. We aren’t tapped into their minds and we aren’t speaking their language.
And gambling ads are!
That’s why we fear them. We fear them because they are doing what we have proven unsuccessful at doing.
When I begin working with a new client, they always want to tell me about their products and services. They will highlight the buttons and bells that make them unique. While this is interesting information that I will use in a campaign, it’s not what matters most.
My fascination and inquiry is focused on their target audience. Who are they? What do they do? What is their life like? What do they currently think/believe? What’s missing in their lives? What do they love, hate, or fear? What other products or services do they love? Why do they love them?
The list of questions I have about the target audience goes on and on. I cannot begin to successfully help clients create and convey messages about their products and service until I know that target consumer inside and out.
And this isn’t some special formula I have created. It’s been the backbone of successful advertising and marketing campaigns.
IT’S WHY GAMBLING ADS WORK!
…and I’m here to tell you it’s why responsible gambling advertising ads fail! It’s also why most messages trying to guide someone who is struggling with gambling to help fail.
We are the problem! We aren’t doing our homework.
Until that changes, nothing else matters.
The target audience is telling us they aren’t interested in what we are selling them. Limits? Time outs? Positive play? These messages are falling flat!
There’s an opportunity just sitting there, waiting to be discovered and implemented at scale. We have simply lacked the curiosity needed to discover it.
The playbook is there.
Will you take the steps required to read and implement it?