Warning slogan in gambling ads has little effect on efforts to influence behaviour

Anti-gambling slogan proves useless in efforts to change behaviour

An advertising slogan designed to warn gamblers about addiction has not been as impactful as hoped, according to new research.

Researchers at the University of Warwick measured the impact of the ‘When the fun stops, stop’ slogan on the behaviour of problem gamblers. It found that the words had no discernible effect on ongoing behaviour.

The findings were drawn from observations of 506 fans of Premier League football who were then invited to place a small wager after viewing gambling adverts, some of which contained the warning while others did not.

The study found that those who had been urged to gamble responsibly ended up betting greater amounts than those who did not.

Dr Lukasz Walasek, one of the report's authors, said: “The purpose of the 'When the fun stops, stop' warning labels is to encourage more responsible gambling behaviour. Yet there is hardly any evidence suggesting that such labels are effective.”

However, Gillian Wilmot, chair of the slogan’s authors the Senet Group said discouraging all betting was "never its purpose". "Instead, it aims to get gamblers to pause and reflect, in much the same way as the Bet Regret messaging," she added.

On the back of the research, the Senet Group has now planned a new lease of life for the slogan in the form of fresh creative which de-emphasises the word ‘fun’.

"“Last year, we initiated a review of the campaign, informed by a substantial behavioural study, and the new creative will reflect a change to the relative size of the word fun in response to feedback," continued Wilmot.

'When the fun stops, stop' messaging has been embraced by bookmakers William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and Paddy Power.

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