Turbulent times in the UK iGaming industry have asked difficult questions of even the most established brands. William Hill hope a change of creative direction will cement their future.
William Hill, one of Britain’s best known gambling brands, has shaken up its creative vision by hiring a new Global Brand & Marketing Director and switching advertising agencies.
The whole process has played out a bit like a reality television show. Earlier this month, William Hill’s former creative partner, the Leeds based Bark & Bite, announced that after 7 years the relationship had ended.
A week later, William Hill announced that Amsterdam & US based agency, 72andSunny had won their multimillion pound account after a “four-way pitch” process.
In the current environment, a brand must have an effective marketing campaign that stays firmly in line with regulatory expectations from the Gambling Commission, as well as the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Painting yourself on the right lines of public perception, as well as the usual considerations of distinctive and exciting marketing, are two facets that are specific to the gambling industry.
These thoughts were clearly on the mind of the William Hill board, when they made the decision to shift their creative direction somewhat. In November 2018, the company hired Charlotte Emery as their new Global Brand & Marketing Director. Emery has vast experience in “sin” industries, having held previous positions with British American Tobacco and rum purveyors Barcadi. Straddling that fine line between regulation, public perception and effective marketing is very much in her wheel house.
Her most recent statement echoes this exactly:
“It’s an exciting new chapter for William Hill. Our industry is changing at a rapid pace and it is important for us to be at the forefront of the conversation.”
Emery clearly brought a new vision into the company which, judging by Bark & Bite’s subsequent statements meant that the partners perhaps no longer saw eye to eye.
The outbound agency’s Managing Director said:
“We have ended our relationship with William Hill across all three territories. We felt it was the right time to move on.”
A week after the announcement, William Hill declared 72andSunny the winners of their contract to take William Hill into the future. The “optimistic” marketing agency (hence the name, according to their website) have further horizons than Bark & Bite. Based in Amsterdam, the change suggests a more European, even global vision for William Hill. Perhaps, as the UKGC’s net tightens, William Hill is looking to emerging markets around the world to power growth and move forward with the times.