As some of the UK’s biggest betting firms opt into mergers with each other, William Hill is continuing to go in alone with a new approach that focuses on its in-house talent to help distance it from the lad culture advertising stereotypes used by so many of its rivals.
To this end the bookmaker recruited Hollywood director Paul W.S. Anderson for its new ad titled ‘Clever Fast’.
The ad promotes the speed of service on William Hill’s new app and is a conscious effort to be seen independently from the rest of the betting industry which has for years now largely centred on irreverent humour.
“We wanted to break from the generic betting ads that are used so widely across the industry,” said Peter Spiers, head of advertising and content at William Hill.
While the work Lucky Generals has done with the like of Paddy Power has been hugely popular, Spiers points out that William Hill’s customers are also customers of brands like Nike and Adidas and so it is aiming to talk to them in a similar tone.
“We want to be viewed as a more relevant and entertaining brand rather than use the lad culture which so many of our peers use,” said Spiers.
In pursuing this end the ‘Clever Fast’ spot drops the humour and focuses on the customer benefits that William Hill offers through its app rather than packing in as many benefits as possible.
As well as recruiting W.S. Anderson, it also drafted in creative agency, Bark & Bite, the production team at Mob Sport to create the ad.
While it had some outside help the original concept for the campaign was developed in-house in.
The in-house approach extends beyond just William Hill’s marketing however. Spiers revealed that a lot of the company’s front and back end work is now done in-house.
Initially this may look like a cost saving strategy given the current climate of the betting sector. There was a wave of mergers and acquisitions within the betting industry last year, including a £2.3bn tie-up between Ladbrokes and Gala Coral and a £6bn merger of Betfair and Paddy Power. There have even been reports that William Hill itself is in talks with Pokerstars owner over a possible merger.
The motivations behind the mergers can largely be summed up by the increasing competitiveness of the market and the rising costs of tax, compliance and technology.
But Spiers Maintains that the reason for William Hill doing more work in-house is down to the confidence in its talent and increasing efficiency over its rivals.
“William Hill has a lot of young talent coming through and we look out for that when recruiting. We've nurtured that talent so we have faith and trust in ourselves.
He adds: “Being able to make changes to the app in-house allows us to make updates much faster and more often. Now the app is being updated on a weekly basis rather than every few months like some of our competitors.”
William Hill isn’t the only betting firm to revamp its advertising strategy in favour of a more decorous tone, its counterpart and rival Betfair’s last ad campaign took on a fresh approach.