By Alfie Hardman
CLICK HERE TO WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN !!!!
Where do you draw the line when advertising gambling?
Quickly fading are the ol’ days when PaddyPower, Ladbrokes and the other big dogs solely advertised on print, radio and TV. Arriving at a screen, right in front of you is where the bidding’s done now.
I can’t avoid the moral dilemma with this brief. It’s a live one, from a great agency and could land us a job if done well. It’s for a gambling site and they want to promote something that gives you one free chance a day to win money. Initially it seemed to me a typical ruse of the gambling industry, “give em a bit of luck first time (FREE!!!) and they seek it over and over and over again.”
Ok, nothing seems to have changed so far and your closest pal is still saying “just quit while you’re ahead mate!”
… but here’s the problem.
“Once an addict, always an addict” is what they say, and they say it for good reason. The fundamental difference between a gambling ad on a billboard compared with it being on social media is that the billboard doesn’t have a CLICK HERE button. Whether you have a gambling history or not it all depends on what your mood is at that split second. You could say no a thousand times, but it wouldn’t matter, it’s what you do when that little ad saying CLICK ME pops up that counts.
That iddy biddy moment could potentially be the destruction of a life and others dependant on it. All within the safe space of your own home.
One of the reasons I went into this industry is that it has the power to create effective and positive change. I still believe companies have a greater power than governments to create that change. But working on briefs like this makes me realise the whole spiel is a good deal more complicated than it seems.
This brief is an eye opener, as a future junior creative I know this is a conundrum I’m going to spend a whole career thinking about. I can try to justify it by saying I’ll make up for it by putting even more energy into the work that creates positive change. But this is something I hope I already do. It is also an exact parallel to what the gambling industry already does. The law is that they must use their own revenue to fund ads that scream “when the fun stops, stop.” This feels like digging a deep hole and then using the upturned soil to partially patch or fill it up again.