Drunk and High Gambling Influencer Demonstrates Consequences of Betting under the Influence
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Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) partnered with Zulu Alpha Kilo for the campaign to face ongoing changes in alcohol policies related to the casino environment
The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) has launched a new campaign to warn young adults about the risks of gambling under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In light of the legalisation of cannabis, ongoing changes in alcohol policies related to the casino environment, and the ease of gambling online, this campaign is both timely and incredibly important.
A recent Covid-19 study by the Responsible Gambling Council showed that cannabis and alcohol consumption of those surveyed increased by over 40% during emergency measures imposed in March 2020. Further, 22.1% of people who reported gambling online and using a substance during the first six weeks of provincial emergency measures also confirmed they had gambled online under the influence of a substance.
Gambling while intoxicated can lead to impaired decision-making and increased risk-taking. The high rates of use and harm that are seen among those 18 to 24 years, as well as the risky gambling behaviours that go along with playing while intoxicated, increase the importance of communicating the risks of this behaviour among young adults, who are two to three times more likely to develop issues with gambling.
To communicate it’s ill-advised to gamble while intoxicated, RGC’s agency partner Zulu Alpha Kilo created a YouTube video gambling series titled 'Gambling with Grunk'. Grunk (his nickname combining ‘gambling’ and ‘drunk’) positions himself as a well-intentioned and earnest gambling 'influencer'. Through short instructional videos, Grunk demonstrates the relationship, emotional and financial risks that can come from gambling while intoxicated (e.g., job loss or forgetting a family birthday).
“Finger-wagging obviously isn’t the best approach when speaking to a younger audience,” says Gerald Kugler, group creative director at Zulu. “Sometimes the best way to talk about consequences is to let the consequences speak for themselves.”
Every video is balanced with a clear message from RGC that gambling drunk or high is always a bad bet.
Elaine McDougall, director of marketing, RGC, added: “We have traditional prevention programs that deliver on the broader risk message but for this campaign, we had a very direct message we needed to deliver to young adults, an audience where the stakes are higher and the scepticism even more so. We knew we had a very short time to get their interest or they’ll skip right past us. And the boldness of this approach has stopping power.”
To amplify the reach of the YouTube series, Zulu Alpha Kilo brought Grunk’s persona to life on social channels through the expected shameless self-promotions an influencer would normally employ when looking to build an audience. That includes reaching out on gaming forums like Twitch.
This campaign follows another Responsible Gaming Council project from Zulu Alpha Kilo targeting young adults called, 'Check Your (Re)Flex'. Designed to mimic the effects of gambling, 'Check Your (Re)Flex' is a video game that demonstrates to players how excitement felt during gameplay hinders rational decision-making and can make stopping more difficult.
‘Gambling with Grunk’ is a digitally led campaign with all video assets filmed through Zulubot, Zulu’s content production studio. Strategy and creative was led by Zulu Alpha Kilo with media planning and buying by PHD Media.
Client: Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) / Alcohol Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO)
Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
Chief Creative Officer: Zak Mroueh
Group Creative Directors: Gerald Kugler, Rodger Eyre
ACD, Writer: Jonah Flynn
ACD, Art Director: Michael Siegers
Social Creative Team: Philippe Visaya, Victoria Lee
Group Strategy Directors: Heather Segal, Sean Bell
Community Manager: Adrian Ver
Account Team: Hilary Roberts, Kayla MacDonald
Clients: Elaine McDougall, Sasha Stark, Krista Castelo