Hard Rock Digital, the interactive gaming and sports betting entity for the Hard Rock brand and Seminole Gaming, has named Droga5 creative agency of record for its new Hard Rock Sportsbook app.
With the appointment, Hard Rock Digital is looking to develop integrated creative and strategic communications that will aim to “break through the online sports betting category in a meaningful and unique way,” according to a statement by the company. The campaign will incorporate digital, social, and out-of-home components and is “squarely targeted at the millennial and the 21+ Gen Z customer who certainly view sports and sports betting differently than older generations have,” said John Koller, chief marketing officer, Hard Rock Digital.
The first work is expected to debut in Florida later this year and expand to other markets in 2022. According to Hard Rock’s website, the sportsbook already exists in New Jersey and Iowa and is expected to be available in Florida and Indiana soon.
However, there appear to be some legal hurdles for online sportsbooks in the Sunshine State. The Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times have reported on court challenges by casino owners to halt online sports betting in Florida. The lawsuits were filed after the state entered into a compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida that permitted anyone in the state over the age of 21 to place and collect online bets on sporting events starting Oct. 15. One of the lawsuits claims that the Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and the Department of the Interior acted outside of their powers in allowing the compact to come into law.
While the Seminole Tribe has the legal authority to begin sports betting on the original October date, according to Action Network there will be a hearing on the issue on Nov. 5.
Koller declined to comment on the pending lawsuits or an official launch date in Florida.
Not your father's sportsbook
While specific creative direction was not disclosed, it's clear Hard Rock Digital will not be your father's sportsbook. “The digital world is changing rapidly, and in particular, the online sports betting category is increasingly where millennial sports fans live,” Koller said in a statement. “For the launch of Hard Rock Sportsbook, we needed to collaborate with partners with strong strategic insights, creative rigor, and feet firmly planted within sports culture," said Koller.
“During the pitch, we looked primarily for an agency that would connect emotively with the millennial and 21+ Gen Z target audience, rather than just throwing a bunch of offers at the customer and basing the campaign only on fanship, which is so common across the category,” he added. “The marketing team at Hard Rock Digital comes from a hugely diverse background and we have all led major marketing launches that drove success through touching the heart, as well as helped the broader business. We needed an agency that shared that more inclusive view and we know that Droga5 will be that agency that helps us build that foundation with sports fans.”
This is the latest example of how the legalization of sports gambling has led to a flurry of new business opportunities for agencies.