Spearheading the UK’s biggest ever campaign to raise awareness of responsible gambling
The prevalence of gambling in our society, and the risks associated with it, has become a contentious political issue and damaged the reputation of gambling operators.
Responsible Gambling Week, now known as Safer Gambling Week, is an annual campaign to involve the entire industry in promoting safer gambling messages to customers and the wider public. Its objectives are to raise awareness amongst consumers about safer gambling tools and where to find support, but also to communicate to staff within the industry their responsibilities to customers.
We were asked to lead the campaigns in 2018 and 2019, devising a communications strategy to navigate the reputational challenges to the industry from a sceptical media, and to execute the campaign successfully.
The tone of the campaign messaging, ‘Let’s Talk About Responsible Gambling’ was deliberately conversational and informal, reflecting research suggesting that a heavy-handed approach was less effective. It delivered simple, practical advice to consumers, such as ‘Set your limits for time and money’ and ‘Only spend what you can afford’.
To communicate the messages effectively, we needed to galvanize the industry to get behind the campaign, principally through trade media outlets, but also to reach wider audiences. We initiated partnerships with football clubs and league sponsors, harnessing their huge social followings and communicating directly with their supporters at stadiums. Some clubs even changed their matchday kit to display the Responsible Gambling Week logo.
Operators shared our content on their own social channels and displayed collateral at every venue in the country, involving more than 800,000 staff, ensuring we successfully initiated a conversation about responsible gambling.
This complemented a national and regional media campaign in which we secured interview opportunities and thought leadership pieces, ghostwritten by our team, for the campaign chairman.
With gambling operators facing a political storm, we felt it was important to include political engagement in the campaign. In 2018, we held a drop-in event at the House of Commons for MPs with a strong interest in gambling – supporters and opponents of the industry. This focused approach ensured we communicated the campaign’s objectives to key political audiences.
We provided social assets for every racecourse in the country, including GIFs and animations, to share on social channels. At a televised Ascot meeting, a race was renamed the Responsible Gambling Week Stakes and the winner’s enclosure was branded with the campaign logo.
Our strategy was to make the #RGWeek hashtag as widely visible as possible to promote conversation and publicise the responsible gambling messages. We were set a KPI of achieving 10 million impressions – compared to 7 million for the previous year – and we smashed it, generating 19.3 million impressions. We raised the bar higher the following year, generating 27.4m impressions as operators responded to the campaign and shared our messages.
We secured more than 300 pieces of media coverage during the two campaigns, reaching an audience of more than 13 million. An independent evaluation of our first Responsible Gambling Week campaign found that the proportion of gamblers who had seen responsible gambling messages in newspapers nearly doubled from the previous year.
The campaign was shortlisted for the Corporate Social Responsibility Award at the CIPR Excellence Awards.
pieces of coverage
shortlisted for the Corporate Social Responsibility Award at the CIPR Excellence Awards