September 25, 2013 | Rebecca Harris
Red Lion has launched its first campaign for the Responsible Gambling Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to problem gambling prevention. The Publicis-owned ad agency was named agency of record after a review earlier this year.
The mass advertising campaign, which is running in Ontario, aims to help people recognize the signs of a gambling problem and take action to learn more.
One online video shows a mom casually telling her daughter her aunt is picking her up from school because “Mommy’s gotta go and try to win back your college tuition at the slots.” Another spot shows a man happily telling his wife he hasn’t been to work in days and took out a second mortgage to try and win back their savings.
The spots end with the super: “It’s never this easy to spot a gambling” and a drive to StoptheChase.ca. “The chase is this moment in time when gaming is no longer a fun activity, it becomes a dangerous activity,” said Brett Channer, chief creative officer at Red Lion.
The ads are intended as a departure from the dark, gloomy approach seen in many ads that address serious social issues. “Someone caught in the chase is actually a very optimistic person,” said Channer. “They actually believe it can be fixed by just chasing it some more. So we played to that and exaggerated it.”
Problem gamblers hide their behavior and do things that jeopardize their families, said Channer. “The thought behind the campaign was to bring that collision to life and do it in a way that it’s not a sappy, sad story; it’s just a sense of what might be happening around us,” he said. “We think that gives it the breakthrough.”
The campaign also includes newspaper, radio and out-of-home ads, particularly in markets with casinos close by. The media buy was handled by Zenith.