With the Ontario sports betting market set to open to licensed operators next month, Toronto-based theScore sees a major opportunity to make an impact in its territory. Cole Rush speaks with Aubrey Levy, theScore’s Senior Vice President of Content and Marketing, about the marketing campaigns the brand will use to appeal to Ontario-based customers.
On April 4, 2022, the Ontario sports betting market will expand to include commercial sports betting. Already, many operators are chomping at the bit to get into the action. Chief among them is theScore, a native of Toronto.
In anticipation of this new opportunity, theScore launched its “Get Into Bet Mode” marketing campaign, targeting Ontario bettors.
The campaign “brings to life what we believe is one of the key differentiators for our product. Our differentiated experience is this integration between media and betting, how theScore and theScore Bet together offer bettors a simple and seamless way to integrate betting into and around media consumption.
That’s according to Aubrey Levy, theScore’s senior vice president of content and marketing. He continues, “One of the main pillars of this is our Bet Mode feature, which is essentially the connection point between theScore and theScore Bet. As we thought about the right message, as we flexed and pushed multi-channel and beyond above the line, we knew we really wanted to build on this unique value proposition.
Levy calls “Get Into Bet Mode” a personification of what theScore does as an organization and as a product line.
“It brings to life this notion that we’re removing barriers for you as a bettor, to simplify your life as a bettor,” he says.
Essentially, place your bets and start enjoying your day again. theScore wants to make this process as easy as possible. That’s where the concept for the campaign came from, says Levy.
“How can we help you get into betting mode and how can we bring that to life in a way that’s entertaining on a daily basis, but also supports our value proposition?” he asks.
The campaign’s flagship content is a two-minute video, which you can watch here:
The spots will air across various channels including TV, radio, digital and theScore’s own assets.
“We flex our message outward for several reasons,” Levy says. “It’s mainly our domestic market. We have unrivaled brand recognition and user base here. We’ve added some elements that our Ontario users will appreciate that an American audience might not.
One example, Levy notes, is the appearance of Canadian TV personality Gerry Dee in the TV spot. Dee contributed content to theScore during the company’s television days. “Building on talent that we know plays really well reinforces why users love us in Ontario and Canada,” says Levy.
The dominoes are all lined up and all you have to do is press quickly to start the cascade. When this chain reaction begins, theScore hopes to be an undisputed leader in the Ontario sports betting market. As the name “Get Into Bet Mode” suggests, theScore’s Bet Mode feature will be key to driving user engagement and building a loyal fan and player base in Ontario.
So what is bet mode? Levy says it’s a “full suite of features that lets you view live odds and markets, track your bets, create your bet slip on theScore’s multimedia platform, view withdrawal offers, and more”.
The Bet mode – using theScore’s existing media product – allows users to do whatever they can without placing bets. The actual betting then occurs in theScore Bet, the company’s bookmaker. “We bring you relevant background information about betting in theScore,” says Levy. “The goal is to simplify your experience and ensure that the bets support your viewing, rather than taking time out to watch the game.”
This concept is reflected in the campaign. “Our heroes are our punters,” says Levy. “They’re the main protagonists of our product and our campaign, backed up by a few strategically placed ‘Bet Mode’ talents who swoop in and basically unlock a bunch of different annoyances and pain points in their lives.”
The three characters supporting the punters are played by Rex Lee, Gerry Dee and Susie Essman. Each helps the campaign’s betting protagonists switch to betting mode and get into the action. Rex Lee facilitates, Gerry Dee offers endless choices and Susie Essman defends a bettor who won’t defend himself.
Any cursory examination of the US sports betting advertising landscape will reveal a different approach. American Books are inserting big names into their TV spots, leveraging team partnerships and big bonuses to attract users. Levy hopes this new approach will further differentiate theScore from its competitors.
“The vast majority of creation over the past three years has been promotion-led,” says Levy. “We think ours breaks off because it’s entertaining on its own. Also, in Ontario, the rules are different. You may not broadcast these high-incentive “sign up and get this now” creatives on TV, outdoor, or radio. The government does not allow this, so you have to look into branding. »
Levy notes that theScore worked in partnership with Diamond Marketing Group on the campaign’s creation and strategy. The “Get Into Bet Mode” campaign is not a one-off deal, however. Levy highlights the flexibility of the concept.
“We definitely built it to be expandable,” he says. “We built it so that the countryside has legs. We will adapt, see how things are built. This notion of going into bet mode is meant to be a branding platform that we can build on. »
This stretchy quality is grounded in a unique perspective, not relying too heavily on a big name or a massive bonus. “For us,” says Levy, “the talent has to support the theme. It’s not about putting the biggest celebrity we can find in front of our campaign. It’s about leveraging talent in a very strategic way to support the message. Each of the performers in our spot fulfills a specific role, which identifies human behavior in and around betting, hopefully in an entertaining way.
It is certainly a new approach compared to the existing advertising spots in the sports betting market, especially in the United States. Levy again stresses the need for punters to be the focus. “The talent is there to support bettors. The heroes of our campaign are the bettors.
Still, the characters portrayed by Lee, Dee, and Essman have some resistance. But they are not a panacea. When asked if he could have any other characters or characters in mind, Levy kept the answer vague: “We had to narrow it down, look at what worked for the production and come up with a number of characters or characters. scenarios that we could build on.”
Going forward, we may see new characters emerge as the campaign continues.
From theScore’s media platforms, to theScore Bet sports betting, to the campaign itself, Levy aims to accommodate both casual and seasoned bettors.
“theScore’s app is a personalized product,” he says. “It’s as deep and robust as you want it to be. Want to have fun with your favorite college team? We have what you need. Just want high scores for the Leafs and Raptors? We can do that too. Having a campaign that felt equally accessible was important to us.
Staying true to the bettor’s experience was crucial for theScore. “Do these situations feel authentic, believable, elevated, and fun?” Levy wanted such a question to drive the campaign and the creativity. He cites Gerry Dee’s role in the TV spot as a prime example. “You could be the most hardcore bettor or you could be a casual bettor, but this interaction with a friend who thinks he knows it all is a very real scenario, a real interaction that happens across the spectrum.”
In summary, the campaign, the sports betting, the media and the imminent launch, one word comes to mind: excitement.
“Everyone is extremely excited,” Levy says. “Ontario is a totally different ball game for us, and we’re going to approach it with that in mind. There is a lot of excitement and now we are expected to be on the edge of the precipice.
At the time of this writing, theScore Bet sports betting and casino is now open for pre-registration ahead of launch in Ontario.