How Sports Betting & iGaming Brands Can Stand Out from the Forest of Neon

How Sports Betting & iGaming Brands Can Stand Out from the Forest of Neon


by Robin Smith
Creative Director

10 March 2023

I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked in the creative industry for more than 30 years, and this has given me the opportunity to connect with many brands in diverse sectors. Since joining Receptional, I’ve been immersed in the world of sports betting and iGaming and I’m currently working with some of the top brands in the industry.

My main observation about the different brands is the sameness – not only in the cookie cutter look, but also the product offering. For the look, the main culprit is neon, which isn’t that surprising as the vibrant colours nod to old Vegas and create an eye-catching aesthetic. But that’s just an image and not a solid brand proposition. Another notable copycat is the use of celebrity endorsements in ads, although this has now been banned in the UK.

Some of the most successful brands I’ve worked with have created a rock-solid and long-term value proposition and that’s what I feel is missing from most of them in the gaming industry. They haven’t invested in brand strategic thinking for the long term and for me that’s creating this forest of neon sameness.

So who are the memorable gaming brands?

In our latest research into UK sports bettors’ buying habits, we discovered that big brands recalled well with punters, with the likes of Bet365, Paddy Power and Sky Bet as their top choices. I’d say that this is expected, as they all invest considerably in ad spend when marketing themselves.

But if you haven’t got the ad spend of the big brands, I’d advise you to invest in branding strategy – get to the core of what makes your brand unique, understand how your brand can look, sound and, ultimately, connect with punters.

In the UK, humour is intrinsic to our everyday life. And, as a child of the 70s, I find the most memorable ads embraced humour and many brands still resonate with me because of it. In contrast, today’s ads and brands have become bland and unmemorable. They’re too obsessed with ticking all the right boxes, not being brave.

Learning from other industries

One brand I’ve discovered recently that has been brave and created a unique value proposition (although, I hasten to add, not in the gaming world but in life insurance) is Dead Happy.

It has broken the predictable mould of the conservative and the dour, and challenged its industry by embracing humour – to be more precise, dark humour. Off the back of this, it’s creating fun campaigns and original products. From building this solid foundation, Dead Happy has created many memorable campaigns and marketed itself brilliantly on social channels, creating unique content for each one – thus avoiding the cookie cutter syndrome.

What digital channels should you be using?

If you’re looking to create brand awareness, YouTube is a great place to start. According to Google, 90% of people around the world use YouTube to explore new brands and products. Another interesting stat is that 96% of marketers value video as an important part of their marketing strategy. For the YouTube audience in the UK, around 44% of users are between 25-44 years old and 53.9% of YouTube’s total users are male, while 46.1% are female.

Creating video content, either animation, motion or film, has become quicker and more affordable. At Receptional, we’re seeing more brands embracing video content creation and benefitting from the effectiveness.

Other channels we recommend working alongside YouTube are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. With the gaming clients we partner with, these channels receive healthy engagement, plus paid advertising will help reach your target audience.

As I mentioned earlier, the key to successful brand content engagement is the creation of a powerful brand platform that will inspire everyone to create original and outstanding creative campaigns. It’s this, I believe, that will help gaming brands stand out from the forest of neon.

Looking for some help to make your brand more memorable? Need a hand with the creation of video content? Contact us to discuss our creative and digital production capabilities.

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