Pete Spiers on William Hill’s fast move for Hollywood director

williamhill-peterspiersWilliam Hill is launching its new TV campaign today during the England v Scotland game with an advert directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, Hollywood director of the Resident Evil franchise among others. SBC caught up with Pete Spiers – Head of Advertising & Content at the bookmaker – to find out more.

SBC News: So Paul W.S. Anderson. Why are you ‘going big’ now?

Pete Spiers: We’ve always been ambitious in our advertising, and we’ve led the pack in terms of production values for many years. But, this year, we wanted to truly redefine advertising in our sector.  We wanted to really break-away from the white noise of our competitors’ ads: Lads watching football. Lads playing football. Retired footballers watching lads watch football.

We’ve never understood why the vast majority of our sector communicates in such a literal and clichéd way with its customers. These are same customers who interact with the likes of Stella Artois, Playstation, O2 and Nike, and we of course share TV ad breaks with these brands, so why can’t we communicate with the same customers using equally compelling content?

SBC: Why him? Was it difficult to get him on-board?

PS: Paul W.S. Anderson is an action specialist, who is restless in his pursuit to present action in new and interesting ways. So we had him in our sights from the outset. His movies have grossed £3.5bn to date, so he is naturally very selective about the projects he gets involved with. But he loved the concept and knew that he could bring a lot to the production, so he got on board.

SBC: You’ve eschewed the blokey 5-a-side mentality so used in other gambling ads, but Hills has never really gone down that route. Does it help differentiate you?

PS: Absolutely. And our syndicated research, available to everyone in the industry, suggests that what we done to date has given us one of the highest levels of brand consideration in the sector.

SBC: Is speed of service a true differentiator?

PS: It is, yes. It’s a key driver for brand choice. Again, our research consistently tells us this. In today’s time-poor, fast-paced world, we are competing for our customers’ finite leisure time, along with Netflix, Playstation, Facebook, Twitter, playing sport, watching sport, meeting friends, the cinema…the list goes on.

Nothing comes to those who wait anymore. We simply don’t have the time to wait. And the William Hill app is constantly being engineered to be ever faster and faster to meet that customer need.

SBC: How much have you invested in this campaign?

PS: Obviously we never talk figures – but we believe it was money well spent.

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