- WynnBET has announced that Ben Affleck will star in and direct a new ad campaign featuring Shaquille O’Neal and actor Melvin Gregg.
- Highly regard agency Laundry Service wrote and produced the TV commercial that will be the centerpiece of the campaign.
- WynnBET is live in New Jersey, Colorado, Michigan, Virginia, Indiana, and Tennessee. It will launch in Arizona when sports betting goes live on September 9.
To paraphrase Mister Meseeks from the great TV series Rick and Morty: “This is getting weird!”. WynnBET has announced a new advertising campaign that will be directed by and star Ben Affleck featuring Shaquille O’Neal and actor Melvin Gregg.
As sportsbooks seek to expand in the nascent US market they’ve taken different approaches to brand building. WynnBET by all appearances is hoping to go head to head with BetMGM, FanDuel and DraftKings by using celebrities to create brand identity with the general public. There are serious questions about the efficacy of this strategy, and particularly using it to promote a sportsbook. A secondary question–even if it is successful in building brand awareness with the mainstream does this translate into new customers and betting handle? My hunch is that it can be effective in getting customers ‘in the door’ at which point it’ll be up to the sportsbook to keep them around. Assuming this is true, will this type of campaign attract the true target demographic? There are plenty of questions and very little in the way of empirical data.
Sports betting is entering a completely new frontier but companies will ignore history at their peril. A highly identifiable brand is important but not more so than tending to the ‘nuts and bolts’ of sports betting. A well run book, reasonable rules and limits, wide variety of sports and bet types and above all else first rate customer service are more valuable in the long run than celebrity laden ad campaigns no matter how much ‘buzz’ they get. Of course, the two goals are not mutually exclusive. There are still more ancillary issues–you can make the case that ad campaigns like this help establish the legitimacy of the broader sports betting industry among the mainstream media and corporate America.
Here’s the official word on the new campaign from the WynnBET press release:
WynnBET, the premier online sports betting and iGaming app from the global leader in luxury hospitality, Wynn Resorts, on Monday launched its dynamic advertising campaign starring Ben Affleck, Shaquille O’Neal and Melvin Gregg. The commercial spots, directed by Affleck, detail Affleck and Gregg’s journey to the sportsbook at Wynn Las Vegas where they interact with Shaq and other sports betting enthusiasts.
The full advertising campaign, which includes a 2:20 extended cut version, will air on TV with elements integrated throughout the WynnBET app and social media platforms. The commercial was written and produced by Laundry Service.
Laundry Service is a highly regarded ad agency with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Portland and London. Here’s the extended cut version of the video mentioned in the previous quote:
Part of working with an A list star like Affleck is stroking their ego. Don’t worry–from the way the press release makes it sound Affleck is the linchpen of WynnBET’s operation. There’s even a gratuitous mention of Affleck’s well documented Boston sports fandom:
In addition to directing and starring in the campaign, Affleck hand-selected Gregg, his co-star in the critically acclaimed sports drama, “The Way Back,” for the shoot. As a long-time Boston sports fan and gaming enthusiast, Affleck helped build out characters featured in the spot, as he, Gregg and O’Neal chat with fans and friends around the Wynn Las Vegas casino floor. Affleck will continue his relationship with WynnBET as a strategic consultant.
One thing they *didn’t* get from Affleck is a pithy quote for the press release. Wynn Interactive CEO Craig Billings gave his company’s side of things:
“Our new campaign brings the WynnBET experience to life — the marquee talent, the connection to Wynn Las Vegas and the excitement of betting with WynnBET. Every detail of this shoot was carefully considered, and Ben did a great job hand-picking the cast and crew as well as developing the characters to capture the fun involved with winning together. We’re excited to show everyone what WynnBET has to offer.”
The press release also had a quote from ‘The Diesel’ aka Shaquille O’Neal:
“This campaign is a winner. The Wynn offered the perfect backdrop and it was a lot of fun to shoot alongside Ben and Melvin. I’m excited for fans to experience WynnBET, a world-class mobile sports betting experience.”
WynnBET has also integrated the Wynn Rewards program into its online sports betting and iGaming platforms. Assuming a sportsbook is well run it could get players to bet there and rack up some points as opposed to going to a competing platform.