William Hill reveals £200m revenue targets for World Cup, kicks off brand campaign and eyes wearable tech and iBeacons marketing opportunities

William Hill has kicked off its World Cup strategy with a major brand campaign as it sets its sights on doubling its previous revenue record - driven directly by activity around the global event - to £200m.

The campaign, which includes a series of TV ads created by agency Creature of London, aims to celebrate the punters that make up its betting community.

The ads have been created to reflect a new brand vision for the 80-year old company, focusing more on evoking an emotional connection with customers rather than the “serious, rational” tone it has historically taken with its brand marketing, according to Alex O'Shaughnessy, director of marketing for William Hill Online.

“This is the start of a journey from a marketing and a product perspective. We are focusing a lot of our communications now specifically around our customers – talking much more distinctly about product benefits, but doing it in a way that can occupy much more of an emotional space, while historically we have been very rational and serious.

“As we look at the emergence of social media in particular - we are moving into a sphere now where we have to be more invitational than directional,” he told The Drum.

Since the last World Cup in 2010, when it generated £100m from activity, the brand has doubled its turnover expectations to £200m worldwide, generated from its retail, online and mobile channels.

The company is becoming more intrinsically mobile, having seen a 426 per cent increase in turnover from mobile products since the start of the football season in 2011.

Mobile will continue to be a core part of its strategy, and its future road map will see it make its entire product portfolio responsive design-based, according to O'Shaughnessy.

“We are the number one bookmaker in the market, but also in terms of our production values – we need to raise the game to ensure we continues to be so.

“We operate in a very competitive market, particularly online with the emergence of mobile, and must work harder to ensure we are creating an experience that our customers enjoy and through that enjoyment we can retain as many of them as possible,” he said.

The betting brand, whose first TV ad will air this evening during England's pre-World Cup friendly against Ecuador on ITV, is also eyeing the potential marketing opportunities that could arise from iBeacons and wearable tech such as Apple’s highly anticipated iWatch.

O'Shaughnessy told The Drum the brand is “investigating" iBeacons as a potentially useful, alternative distribution channel, given Google Play excludes all betting brands.

Meanwhile he also said wearable tech, specifically Apple’s iWatch is of interest to the brand. “We are starting to form our thoughts around things like iWatch and what that might mean for us.

“The key thing is that ultimately it’s about the overall experience, so if we can put a certain amount of the most important information, whether that be live scores that will influence a bet, or a notification that a team or a striker or a horse that you bet on previously is about to run, and you can make that information through a more accessible device like an iWatch then it certainly becomes of interest to us. And making sure we have the platform to deliver that moving forwards is a part of our road map,” he told the Drum.

The TV campaign ads each tell a different story, with William Hill's products underpinning the concepts. It aims to bring to life the range of markets William Hill offers its betting community, encouraging punters to "make every moment matter" and find excitement in all aspects of a match, not just the final result.

The campaign will also include a series of print and online display ads, which will run from the start of the World Cup on 12 June.

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