When it comes to integrated marketing campaigns, no industry is more prolific and creative than the sports gambling industry. Particularly in Australia, a culture has developed in which gambling over head to head margins and first goal scorers is just as much of a spectacle as the game itself, and the major catalyst that drives all of this is SportsBet.
SportsBet has become the social media platform kings, coupled with regular Television and billboard advertisements, they’ve created an in depth web of marketing strands. Famous for its crude humor based advertising, which has been incredibly successful in appealing to the intended young-middle aged male audience.
Social Media is an ever-growing modernistic form of marketing that has enabled companies to take a holistic approach in advertising. The SportsBet’s Facebook page has over 681,000 followers, and it is very rare that you will see any direct form of advertising on it (Image 1). It is primarily used in a “phase one” approach to generate consumer appeal through its crude comedic quotes and pictures , usually related to a recent sport event or issue. Consumers are more willing to support a particular brand if they feel they can personalize with it. This type of humorous approach is popular among the middle age men target group. From this, the consumers are bound to SportsBet, and when the time comes to choose an agency to bet with, it has already been decided.
This same comedic advertising has been displayed through billboard and sign methods, such as the infamous ad in the Tullamarine airport (Image 2). which generated much controversy during the last Rugby World Cup. Whilst the intended humor was not received well by some, the created controversy generated much publicity for the agency, and in turn gained a lot of support. They use this marketing approach to generate maximal exposure, with a link provided to their hashtag at the bottom of the advertisement. SportsBet display a similar form in their TV commercials, with their patented witty approach in TV broadcast form. However, this is a tool in which they also promote any special offers they have, or campaigns leading up to a specific event. For example, “bet on any three AFL games this weekend and if one of them doesn’t win, you get your money back”.
Before you even enter the website, it automatically directs you to an ongoing ‘free bet’ campaign through signing up. Once a consumer has entered and signed up the website, they enter phase three of the integrated marketing communications process, which allows them to be involved in various promotions through website advertisement and emails etc. The SportsBet website is an intricate page of sky blue background and endless options of betting. The company has now implemented free live broadcasting streams to some sports such as the NBA or EPL, to which is otherwise only available on Pay TV, just another “phase two” incentive to visit and stay on the web page for an extended period of time.
Integrated Marketing is an undoubtedly effective process when implemented in the right fashion, and no company does it more effectively than SportsBet. They have created a market niche through their seemingly informal behavioral approach. Through sharing a post or issue with no form of direct advertising, and be able to link from one promotion to the other has resulted in a large response to their campaigns. At the time of the first phase, consumers are unaware of the influence the advertisement is having, then by the third phase they are depositing money to claim their “free bet”. One must wonder the ethics and social responsibility associated with this, however one must also applaud the agency for creating the marketing juggernaut they have been able to do.