Sex, Celebs, Weirdness, but Mostly Humor: UK Gambling Ads

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Sex sells, but some of the best gambling advertisements in the UK rely on humor instead.

British humor is world famous. From classics like Monty Python and The Black Adder to newer hits like Peepshow, viewers worldwide are captivated by the Brits’ capacity to make us laugh. It extends far beyond TV and film, however. The ever-present but less respected field of gambling advertising has a few gems to offer as well.

Apparently those who like to bet on sports in the UK are most responsive to four stimuli: sex, celebrities, weirdness, and humor. While all four are very effective, this piece will focus on humor. It seems to be what British advertisers do best, and is especially present in the gambling industry.

This piece will run through some of the funniest gambling ads to run in the UK in recent years. They aren’t in any particular order.

A sports betting classic

The UK bookmaker Paddy Power ran an ad with famous footballer Carlton Palmer a few years back. Many have called it the best betting ad of all time, and one of the best ever ads period.

The brilliant thing about it is that it combines several of the elements that make great ads: celebrity appeal, the unforgettably weird factor, and above all, humor. A man is relaxing in a bathtub with a woman. She dips her head underwater. We expect sex. We get… Carlton Palmer. “Isn’t it nice, just you and Carlton Palmer, avin’ a bath.” Very, very weird. Even if it wasn’t funny I would remember it for the shock value. But thank god, it is funny.

He then goes on to inform the man that Paddy Power is so kind as to refund the bet he lost last night. Paddy Power takes care of its bettors, has Carlton Palmer, and can make us laugh. That’s who I would wager with.

“A Big One” somehow gets big results

For the record I don’t think this ad is funny in the least. I’m writing about it because a lot of other people think it is. The aptly-named British internet casino UK Casino recently ran a series of ads with the slogan “it’s a big one!” They are literally taking about the jackpot offered by the site, but the phrase is perfect to inject with some innuendo.

• The Paddy Power ad featuring Carlton Palmer is often described as the best betting advertisement ever

• While sex is a cheaper and easier selling technique, humors works well in gambling

• Many online casinos market primarily to female players

A sexy, big-breasted blonde woman is doing her makeup in front of a mirror in a public bathroom. One can hear splashing noises from a nearby stall as well as a woman proclaiming “Wow! What a big one!” That’s right, UK Casino resorted to a poop joke to get people to visit their website.

The woman bursts out of the stall (also sexy of course, but brunette) and shoves her phone into the hands of the other woman, imploring “What a big one!” The screen shows a GBP 90,000 jackpot on a mobile slot game. Sure, pretty big. What is really funny about this ad is that is marketed toward women. Research has shown that while sports betting and land-based casinos are primarily enjoyed by men, women are more likely to use online casinos.

I won’t talk to Victor, but I will definitely watch his ads

The brilliant line of “Talk to Victor” ads featuring BetVictor CEO Victor Chandler and British comedian Paul Kaye are as funny as ads can possibly get. As much as I enjoyed the Carlton Palmer plug for Paddy Power, Victor simply takes the cake. BetVictor operates betting shops as well as online and mobile betting platforms.

One of the best ads features our old boy Victor enjoying a leisurely breakfast outdoors at the country club. Paul Kaye’s Morris comes bursting in on a golf cart demanding the best odds, and a bit more: “Seduce me, serenade me, make me purr like a Persian.”

Sure, the slogan is “talk to Victor.” But as the ads all show, he doesn’t want to talk to you (or at least to Paul Kaye). If you want the best football betting odds, just go call the number or go to the website. I’ll pass, but damn did I laugh hard while watching this one. There are a few other knee-slappers featuring the duo as well. Being an American, I had never heard of Paul Kaye prior to seeing these ads, but now I would call myself a fan.

Hey, what’s with the hedgehog?

The “Oddsfather” line of ads from Ladbrokes features ex-footballer Chris Kamara. It also features an ever-present hedgehog. Don’t what the deal is with that, but the ads are pretty funny.

As you can guess, the Oddfather is a Mafioso-type who offers great odds, but only to those worthy of sitting at his table. Kamara co-stars as the Kamisgliere (cheesy, I know). And to give things a weird, James Bond-ish twist, Cubic Zirconia is the sexy female lead.

Two punters get an audience with the Oddsfather and ask him for great odds. He obliges them, but like always, they may be called on to return the favor. The world of online sportsbooks in Britain can be more intriguing than most would expect. Sometime later the bettors enter their crappy apartment and guess who’s there: the Oddsmaker, petting his pet hedgehog as always.

You may say this ad is more weird than funny. I wouldn’t argue with you. But as a fan of both mafia films and the 1970s disco vibe the ad spoofs, I got a definite kick out of it.

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