LEISURE & ENTERTAINMENT | Krisana Gallezo-Estaura, Singapore

World Cup 2014 might have ended but this anti-gambling campaign is far from over

Many suggested to put it down amidst criticism, but Goodfellas cannot be stunned.

Touching one of the most sensitive social issues in Singapore, the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), together with local ad agency Goodfellas, launched a campaign confronting gambling problems of Singaporeans.

The campaign used a football-themed ‘Kick the Habit’ slogan to convey a warning before the World Cup. The Kick the Habit campaign aims to deter gamblers from excessive and irresponsible gambling. More importantly, it aims to remind gamblers that the consequences of their addiction do not only affect themselves, but their loved ones as well.

The anti-gambling campaign might have the right intention but it was unable to shield itself from being criticized. The first advert they released featured a man putting his son's life savings on Germany winning the World Cup. The kid named Andy said while frowning: "I hope Germany wins. My dad bet all my savings on them." But the cautionary message fell off when Germany bagged a record breaking 7-1 victory over Brazil -- the worst semi-final defeat in World Cup history.

According to a spokesperson from Goodfellas, the idea was to use an emotional trigger to highlight the fact that most of the people who suffer from problem gambling aren’t gamblers. While the campaign had been lampooned worldwide for its ironic “winning team”, they believe that it won over many hearts.

The spokesperson explains that the campaign’s true measurement of success was seen with NCPG’s 24-hour helpline and the increase of requests for counselling services.

“After the World Cup final on July 14, NCPG’s 24-hour helpline received 105 problem gambling-related calls which is twice the average and the highest for a single day. There was also a 20% increase in the number of requests for counselling services in June, compared to May, clearly indicating that the campaign resonated with its intended audience,” the spokesperson said.

The ‘Kick the Habit’ campaign was also featured in reports by almost every local and international media, including US newspaper The Wall Street Journal, British newspaper The Guardian, wire agency Reuters and US TV network as part of a segment on Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night Show.

On the digital front, the campaign’s key character “Andy” became a worldwide Internet sensation, with spoofs and parodies appearing on various social media platforms that boosted NCPG’s TVC viewership on YouTube to surpass 1 million views in less than 2 weeks.

As much as many people suggested to put down the advert or edit it, the team behind the campaign even released another ad. “The first print ad Germany’s World Cup win did not diminish the overall campaign message. It provided an opportunity for a follow-up ad to remind the public that problem gambling is a vicious cycle that doesn’t stop and whether win or lose, it still hurts the families of those involved,” the spokesperson said.

Watch the video here


• Patrick Low, Executive Creative Director/Copywriter, Goodfellas
• CK Guay, Art Director, Goodfellas
• Desmond Ng, Art Director, Goodfellas
• Brendon Low, Copywriter, Goodfellas
• Kevin Seah, Account Manager, Goodfellas

Call for powerful social ads: Do you have interesting social ads which caught the emotions of many Singaporeans? Send details of your projects to Lee Anne Babierra at research@charltonmediamail.com


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World Cup 2014 might have ended but this anti-gambling campaign is far from over

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