Think bet365 and you probably hear a familiar Cockney voice – that of their brand ambassador, which has helped to make them one of the most distinctive online gambling brands in the UK.
Almost overnight, Ray Winstone became a household name and synonymous with the actor’s already huge success the Staffordshire-based gambling giant also saw their brand grow.
It was a masterstroke from joint-CEO Denise Coates, who founded the company out of a portakabin in 2000 with a small team, which is now over 4,000 strong.
That iconic, mildly annoying yet seemingly persuasive rasp which spurts out offers and odds during commercial breaks in between football games especially, has become somewhat of a British advertorial institution.
While the term ‘glorified salesmen’ might be too disparaging, there is no doubt that this tactic works. It is just surprising that the gaming industry is late to the party.
Such sectors as the fashion and wider retail market rely on brand ambassadors as one of their main revenue drivers and it is easy to see why.
Brand Ambassador or CEO?
In-line with bet365’s intuitive in-play betting, now adopted by every other bookmaker, Winstone’s floating head in between football matches has been very cleverly utilised by the betting firm – with many people having easy access to mobile phones to take action.
Effectively, brand ambassadors in the gaming industry run their respective affiliated companies. It isn’t the CEOs or the directors, it’s these guys. They’re the ones convincing people that it is a good idea to take odds of 3/1 on ‘x’ player to score next during the commercial break.
It’s likely that very few active, or even passive gamblers actually know who the head is of each respective betting company, though they will be able to tell you that Chris Kamara talked them into opening a Ladbrokes account.
This influence is powerful. Having a strong brand ambassador, especially in this industry is imperative. Winstone is identifiable from his hardman role in the film ‘The Departed’. Although previously a footballer, Kamara’s fame sky-rocketed as a pundit with Sky Sports and is considered a legend among fans.
Casino operator Jackpot Joy has realised a change of image can be influenced through the kind of brand ambassador that it has, with television celebrity Paddy McGuinness recently taking over from EastEnders actress Barbara Windsor as brand ambassador in an attempt to freshen up the brand and capitalise on the presenter’s popularity.
It helps when potential brand ambassadors show interest in the product that they could be promoting and this was definitely the case when Australian cricket star Shane Warne showed a particular proclivity for poker, playing in tournaments around the world following his retirement.
His direct manner and passion for the game made him the perfect brand ambassador for 888, shooting commercials for 888Poker, helping to sign up numerous new customers from other territories around the world.
Staying with the sports theme; anyone would have thought that Brazilian footballer Neymar Jnr was paid enough though his brand partnership agreement with PokerStars helped to raise the company’s profile further.
Differentiating from the Competition
Every gambling company is challenging to stand out in one way or another. Brand ambassadors has been one tactic which has worked to great effect over the last decade, though there are some which have far more pulling power than others.
As more new online casinos enter the marketplace, the obvious answer to increase brand recognition is to sign a celebrity as an ambassador which can help to propel their status.
This was the hurdle that European operator, NetBet faced when it wanted to grow to the next level and crack into the British market in particular. Signing ex-Chelsea footballer Dan Petrescu in 2015 was seen as a big step forward in helping to increase brand awareness.
Already headquartered in Romania, fellow compatriot Petrescu with his links to England was seen as a very viable candidate to help promote the brand to the English-speaking market and the company has since gone from strength to strength.
Inevitably, getting the right person on board is crucial. It is so far so good for bet365 who appear to be showing how right they were to sign Winstone – arguably one of the most decorated brand ambassadors in the world of casino.