The ad, by agency Who Wot Why, opens with former Manchester United star Keane on his way to a match, while deftly dealing with a number of obstacles on the way, from enthusiastic fans to members of the media looking for a quick quote.
The role of betting in the beautiful game is not mentioned directly in the spot, which instead aims to draw a parallel between Keane’s skills at getting things done and the Sky Bet app. “Roy Keane is an absolute legend and we’re chuffed to be working with him,” says Who Wot Why co-founder Ben Walker of Keane’s involvement. “Nothing should get in the way of enjoying sport and I’m certainly not going to argue with him on that.”
The ad is released as the role of gambling in sport comes under increasing scrutiny, a topic we explored as part of a wider examination of gambling advertising last year. In the piece, Walker argued that creating gambling ads could be the same as any other sector, if you “work only with clients who share your values”.
“If they don’t, walk away,” he continues. “Gambling is a wonderful sector when you work with good people and good brands. It’s fast moving, it’s exciting, it’s enormous fun and it’s incredibly rewarding.”
He points out that the agency “always steered clear of anything that we feel may appeal to younger audiences in particular”, a point that is born out in this spot which broadly avoids some of the gimmicky, youth-based approaches sometimes seen in work in this sector. “The regulations are there for a reason: to give protection to those who need it as well as safeguarding specific audience groups such as younger viewers,” says Walker. “We have no wish to attract these people.”
Instead the spot aims to present a “realistic” but ultimately cheery portrait of the game, despite Keane’s brusque demeanour. “No face paint or football flags in sight,” continues Ross Sewley, head of brand at Sky Bet, of the ad’s approach. “We wanted to [show] off the beautiful game as realistically and authentically as possible.”
Agency: Who Wot Why
Director: Jim Gilchrist
Production company: Outsider