HomeGames & TechBrand ambassadors and influencers: What role do they play at slot sites?

Brand ambassadors and influencers: What role do they play at slot sites?

What do Keith Lemon, Peter Crouch, Olly Murs, Michael Owen, Ray Winstone and Paddy McGuiness have in common?

Need a bit of a clue? You’ll have seen them on TV and media adverts, and possibly heard them on podcasts or radio programs. Yes, they’re all celebrities, but that’s not what unites the names on our list.

OK, we’ll tell you the answer –  they’re all brand ambassadors for gambling operators.

What does a brand ambassador do?

But what does it mean to be a brand ambassador for an online gambling site? It clearly isn’t a full-time job, as these are all high-level sports people, singers, actors and entertainers. And yet, as a side hustle, it’s clearly attractive, with top stars including Tyson Fury and Drake managing to grab themselves some gambling brand connections. Even hip-hop star Nicki Minaj has got in on the act with a new deal to be Global Ambassador for MaximBet.

Most of the big-name online gambling sites have at least one brand ambassador, and they’re not just confined to the sports betting world. Casino, bingo, poker and slot sites often have celebrity ambassadors too, all of whom are prepared to use their public profiles as an extra marketing tool.

Brand ambassador or influencer?

Don’t confuse brand ambassadors with influencers, who are only concerned with short-term deals. Being a brand ambassador is seen as a long-term commitment, and the celebrity will have certain contractual obligations to fulfil.

TV and radio adverts are usually an important part of the role – think of Johnny Vegas and Leo the lion promoting LeoVegas back in 2018. The operator was able to make full use of his comic abilities to highlight its upcoming promotions.

More recently, Peter Crouch features in the latest TV ad for Paddy Power in which he appears naked in a bath filled with red cards and holds a referee above his head in a recreation of the iconic lift from ‘Dirty Dancing’!

Exclusive themed games

Some brand ambassadors for casino, bingo or slot sites even have exclusive games created around them.  For example, Keith’s Lucky Lemons is a slot game exclusive to 32Red, where he’s the brand ambassador. And having signed up Olly Murs to represent Heart Bingo, the operator offers players the chance to explore its exclusive five-reel slot, ‘Olly Murs’ All Stars’. It’s a sure-fire way of drawing in new players, with operators hoping they’ll keep coming back and play some more.

Contractual obligations

But there’s more to being a brand ambassador than working on advertising campaigns and having games created in your honour. Celebrities can expect to participate in voice-overs, in-person meetings and social media campaigns too. They might be required to post regular blogs, or give tips for upcoming sporting events. They’ll have inside info on the latest deals and promotions, so they’ll be expected to give out details to their followers and fans.

Everyone benefits

But the relationship doesn’t just benefit the gambling operator. According to online news publication European Gaming, Will Bayley has recently become the latest brand ambassador for Merkur UK. Having worked tirelessly to overcome the challenges created by a congenital disease and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Bayley has managed to become the world’s number one paralympic table tennis player.

He’ll be promoting the work of the Merkur Initiative, which supports a variety of charitable causes. In return, Merkur will be giving Bayley their full support as he prepares to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Promoting new technologies

And celebrity brand ambassadors are also useful for promoting new technologies. With cryptocurrency gambling sites springing up online, endorsement from a public figure serves to reassure prospective bettors. A report earlier this year from CasinoBeats, an online publication for the casino industry, announced that Punt Casino has signed up Michael Owen, who has a strong personal interest in crypto.

More gambling brand ambassadors on the way

The concept of brand ambassadors for online gambling operators isn’t new, but it’s something that’s definitely gaining ground. And according to Inside Sport, that’s partly down to the global pandemic. Enforced lockdowns encouraged sports and casino fans to head online, where they’ve found themselves faced with a huge range of options.

Fans are looking for a sports betting, casino, slots or bingo site that they can connect and engage with. And what better way to do that than by following in the footsteps of a favourite sporting legend or a top entertainer? The right brand ambassador serves as a major attraction for the operator, while the celebrity in question enjoys an extra moment in the spotlight – it’s a win-win situation for both parties, and one we can expect to see more of in the future!

Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip is the Editor of Entertainment Focus and the Managing Director of agency Piñata Media.

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