Betsson’s Kay Hook and Ronni Hartvig: A bet really does make the difference

Betsson Group opted for a global approach when it launched its new advertising campaign ‘A bet makes the difference’ last week. The initiative encompasses a series of commercials developed by the firm’s in-house advertising team, with direction coming from internationally-renowned Brazilian director, Rodgrigo Saavedra.f

Betsson’s Global Brand Director, Kay Hook and CCO, Ronni Hartvig took time out this week to talk with SBC News about the company’s latest high-profile campaign, sharing their views on the rationale behind the TVCs and the decision to choose Saavedra as the production mastermind.

Hook was first to speak, focusing on the thematics of the TVCs, saying: “We consider ourselves to be in the entertainment industry, so we wanted to enhance the entertainment value and bring more excitement to our customers. That’s the whole creative standpoint when it comes to the commercials. 

“Instead of what many other companies are doing – focusing on the winnings and how fortunate you will be if you win – we chose to focus on the excitement you feel when you place the bet, when you get skin in the game. Because even if you don’t win, which we can never guarantee of course, if you play responsibly you will feel the excitement, you will feel the thrill. And that is guaranteed. So, it’s kind of an ‘excitement insurance’ that we’re giving to our customers and we wanted to show that in these TVCs.”   

Adding to that, Hartvig noted: “The competition is very hard. Not only are we competing with our regular industry competitors. We’re up against Netflix and others.

“Historically in the gaming industry it has always been about driving customer acquisition, sending welcome offers and incentivising people to come, more than necessarily the excitement and why you should come.

“Here there is a more sustainable growth opportunity for an operator to talk more about the feelings and why you should actually do this (place a bet). Just in the same way that we want to go on Netflix. We want to move away from all these incentives and talk about what it (betting) really is.” 

In producing this campaign, Betsson secured the services of Rodrigo Saavedra, widely acknowledged as among the most talented directors of his generation. Explaining why the firm chose the Brazilian, Hook stated: “Our main markets are in Latin America and Rodrigo, as a Brazilian director, was one of our first choices. 

“We spotted him very early in the process. His direction and vision with the creative idea that we had was just a match made in heaven. And he understood our needs and also our consumers and the industry in a very good way. And he was also able to dramatise it. It’s been a pleasure working with him and the insight that he has, especially with international film production and TVCs, together with his knowledge of the Latin American countries, couldn’t be better.” 

Hartvig concurred: “We learned a lot. The way of working digitally with different continents, with post-production and how it all aligned was a big learning curve and involved some very good teamwork – both with our in-house agency and with Rodrigo and his team.”  

With a target audience spread across more than 10 countries, Betsson’s campaign is far removed from what might be typically described as the localised approach often used by the industry. 

According to Hook the global strategy was adopted because “we wanted to do something bigger and better and bolder”. He explained: “We also did it because we want to be more scalable as well. Having more than 10 markets put into one campaign has actually been part of a bigger challenge because we have never done that before. 

“We’ve started rolling it out across 10+ markets, prominently spanning the LatAm region including Argentina, Peru, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. Additionally, we’ve also debuted the campaign in Europe, with a strong emphasis on the Nordics, especially Sweden and Denmark, and also further south in Greece in Europe. 

“We took three steps back from what we normally do and involved people like Rodrigo and other big names because we wanted to move away from what we normally do. Not only in terms of approach, but how we work internally and get something that can work in all markets. It’s not easy, but other brands outside of our industry are managing that. For us, it was a matter of becoming a more global brand.” 

With ‘A bet makes the difference’ finally launched, it’s evident that there’s going to be much more of this style of communication to follow from Betsson’s in-house creative hub. “This is something that we want to do much more of,” said Hook. “We hope that we have nailed it when it comes to getting the right approach. All the features and the small details in our two movies – they are on a completely different level to most standard ads from gaming operators. 

“We have really tried to catch the viewers’ attention and if they don’t react to the music they will react to the special effects. So, I think right now, we know for sure a lot more of this will come and we will hopefully continue down this route based on the response from customers and the audience.

“We believe that our customers will see this campaign and really recognise the message that having skin in the game will make the difference. It’s a sustainable long-term goal, but it also has to work in other channels as well, not only in TV. That’s probably where you’re going to see more from the same concept.” 

In conclusion, Hartvid underlined the need for long-term consistency, saying: I also think as an add-on, when you launch something new like this and we have done all this work and are so excited, we also need to remember and understand that everything else has to reflect it. 

“Everything we do now has to relate to it. We try to challenge ourselves and raise the bar within that field. It also means that we have to raise the bar when customers actually respond to it the way we want them to respond by going to the site to register and deposit and start playing. It has to be exciting. So on the product side, we still have work to do on the sites, making small adjustments for customers to get that feeling. We want them to recognise the site from the TV ad, not just the Betsson orange colour!” 

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