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These days, the safest bet is that a sizable portion of the ads you’ll consume in the coming weeks will be from sports betting apps, especially with the Super Bowl just around the corner. And if you review just a sample of past campaigns from brands like BetMGM, WynnBet and TheScore, you can spot a number of trends. Big stars? Check. An emphasis on high stakes and big wins? Absolutely. Minimal gender diversity? That, too.
But with its new campaign titled “For the Sport of It,” Betway wants to flip a lot of those tropes—as well as the sports betting market—on their heads by focusing less on winning and more on fandom as a unifier.
The brand collaborated with Deutsch NY on a 50-second spot that positions the fan’s love of sports as the most valued currency. Tapping into the inherent diversity of fandom, the work rejects the use of A-listers and other high-profile talent to engage with consumers at a more accessible level, leaning more into the potential fun of betting rather than the possibility of a large cash prize at the end.
“For the Sport of It” also stands as a significant marker for the company and the market in general: 2023 is the first year that the state of Ohio was open to the sports betting category, making the state both the main target audience of the campaign and a new battle ground for competing brands.
The look and feel of fandom
While the ad may be brief in comparison to those of Betway’s competitors, its inclusive nature is notable within those few moments with glimpses of famous men talking shop being swapped for tight shots of women similarly engaged in the fanfare.
These moments are intentional in an effort to bolster more gender parity in the sports betting marketplace, joining the likes of fellow betting brands like FanDuel.
“It’s just a representation of what’s going on out there,” Samira Ansari, chief creative officer at Deutsch NY, told Adweek. “You don’t just throw a bunch of men in a sports spot because it’s about sport; we’re not in that era anymore. All we did was cast what we felt was a true representation of people who are watching, engaged in and betting on sports.”
Syd Harris, director of brand and content at Betway, added, “We wanted it to [feature] the passion that fans had, as well. That felt like something that was really lacking in a lot of the marketing. It’s there and brands bring it to life, but we wanted to bring it to life in another way where we could capture the nuances of fandom.”
Bonded by strategy
Betway, which entered the U.S. market in 2021, started its relationship with Deutsch NY in July 22 when it selected the agency as its strategic business consultant. In September, the pair expanded their partnership when the brand awarded the agency its U.S. creative and media responsibilities.
Harris cites Deutsch as a key factor in the brand’s overall strategy for upwards scale within the U.S. market: “We took the creative brief, flipped it on its head and actually started talking about wanting a thought partner who was going to help us scale and cultivate a message that is unique to us here in the U.S.”
The message in question: Betting at this capacity is its own sport and community-building activity, valuing the thrill of participation above any money pot. By removing the glitzy creative and intense high-stakes from marketing efforts, the brand can appeal to a much wider, more varied audience.
“Betting is bigger than just the bet. It’s about the action itself,” said Harris. “I want that to come across all of our external and fan-facing efforts, whether it’s through our social posts or you’re watching the game on our accounts, reading our blog or seeing the ads. That is a huge win for our brand as we focus on long-term success and building a foundation that will [allow] us to do some really cool things over the next couple of months.”
As Betway continues in its mission, Ansari looks forward to the adaptability of a creative strategy that allows the brand to push its messaging at any key sporting event—and doesn’t rely on a major Super Bowl push.
“What I love about this campaign is it’s got such a strong foundation,” Ansari said. “It’s not just a retail-style campaign that’s putting offers out there. That fan thinking of treating betting like its [own] sport can be applied to every single sport throughout the year. I think there’s lots to come, and the campaign and the strategy can house it all.”
The campaign will run across film, paid social, digital and OOH.
Executive vice president, North American operations: Bruce Watermeyer
Vp, U.S. state management: Avi Alroy
Executive vice president, North American operations: Mike Addonizio
Director of brand and content: Syd Harris
Head of sponsorship and ambassadors: Dave Bull
Senior sponsorship manager: Austin Davis
Deutsch New York
Chief creative officer: Samira Ansari,
Creative director: Jeff Good
Creative director: Mytran Dang
Art director: Jasmine Gainous
Copywriter: Tanner Manscill
Art director: Cole Davis
Design director: Alexandre Correa
Evp, head of integrated production: Miriam Franklin
Svp, associate head of integrated production/studio: Sarah Manna
Manager, integrated production services business operations: Anthony Sheldon
Sr. retoucher: Alice Mazorra
Associate digital artist: Alexis Lodsum
Print producer: Melissa Betancur
Studio designer: Kristen Eng
Creative developer: Sunny Chao
Digital producer: Matthew Onorato
Digital producer: Jeffrey Tabaka
Associate strategy director: Alex Trump
Senior brand strategist: Katie Mckenna
Associate director of social strategy: Jay Choyce Tibbits
Data strategy: Matt Nicholson
Data strategy: Jiaqi Li
Evp, director of integrated media at Deutsch: Karen Bensen
Evp, director of local buying: Maureen Burzynski
Associate media director: Morgan Busch
Vp, media director at Deutsch: Oliver Plunkett
Integrated media supervisor: Alyson Hasenstab
Svp, group account director: Rakesh Talwar
Account director: Tori Taylor
Account executive: Katherine Gabler
Assistant account executive: Sam Fischer
Project Manager: Bilal Abdallah
Svp, director of business affairs: Maria Taris
Vp, group director, integrated business affairs: Stacy Schwartz
Associate business affairs manager: Abbie Donoghue
Associate business affairs manager: Stephanie Mikel
Production Company: Stadium
Director: Giorgio Bruni
Pete Fullarton at Search Party
Cohan Andersen and Mike Gorczyca at Great Machine
VFX: Okay Studio
Music/Licensed Music Tracks:
Original Track: JSM
Martin Leitner at Sounds Good Studio
Radio: Mark Healey at Great Machine