The tagline is a not-so-subtle nod to the ability of gamblers or fantasy players to win money on specific occurrences within a game—such as how many assists a basketball player might dish out—rather than simply on the game’s final outcome.
With FanDuel, “you are an active participant in the outcome,” Raffensperger says, “whether it’s simply for bragging rights because you are playing a fantasy sports free-play game, or you’ve got money riding on it in the sportsbook … it creates an added vector of entertainment to consuming sports.”
Wieden won the business after an informal review that included outreach to a handful of other agencies. It marks the agency’s first sports betting client, according to W+K Chief Operating Officer Neal Arthur. “They do want to build a brand that is bigger than the category, which was the draw for us,” he says.
FanDuel has also boosted its internal marketing ranks. In January it hired Andrew Sneyd as its senior VP of brand marketing. He joined from Priceline where he was VP and head of brand marketing and strategy. Before that, he held various marketing roles at Anheuser-Busch InBev, including as global marketing VP for Budweiser. At FanDuel, his charge is to “apply some brand polish and punch to what’s been an amazing performance marketing engine—so figuring out how we can accomplish doing both: selling today and selling for tomorrow,” he says.
Wieden will be expected to work closely with FanDuel’s in-house agency, a roughly 30-person unit helmed by Executive Creative Director Steven Giraldi, who has logged time at Epsilon and R/GA.
FanDuel for years has knocked heads with its chief rival, DraftKings. Both started as daily fantasy sports operators but have moved into the sports betting market in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a federal ban on sports betting in 2018. Sports betting is now live and legal in 22 states and Washington, D.C., according to the American Gaming Association. (Wyoming and Arizona will be live soon.)
The mainstreaming of gambling has led to a surge in marketing spending by both providers. DraftKings spent $73.9 million on measured media in the U.S. in the first five months of the year, up from $9.8 million for the same period in 2020, while FanDuel’s spending grew from $8.8 million to $49 million, according to Kantar.
DraftKings has also shown signs of adding some polish to its marketing. The brand earlier this month released a campaign called “The Feels,” which stars Martin Lawrence and dramatizes the emotions experienced by sports bettors by putting in human form thoughts and feelings such as “logic” and “indecision.” The effort, handled in-house, will run during NFL games.
Dustin Gouker, an analyst at legalsportsreport.com, which covers regulated sports betting, says DraftKings and FanDuel are upping their marketing games in a move to become “brand-aware for the larger audience,” especially as more states legalize betting. While New York and Florida have passed laws legalizing sports betting, it’s still not live in the states. And sports betting remains illegal in Texas and California.
“Sports betting is still very nascent, even though it’s this hot topic and there is lots of money pouring into it, the addressable audience for sports betting alone is still fairly small,” Gouker says.
But DraftKings and FanDuel must defend their turfs as other big brands get involved as massive markets like New York open up. Fanatics, the giant online seller of licensed sports merchandise, recently hired ex-FanDuel CEO, Matt King, as it explores a leap into sports betting, according to multiple media reports. Jay-Z is involved in a bid by the company to get into the New York sports betting market, as detailed by ESPN.
As more states open up, so does more ad inventory. The NFL’s move to accept sports betting ads is especially significant, considering the league’s reach. Still, buys remain limited: The league has capped the number of sportsbook ads that can run during an individual game at six—one spot per quarter, plus a pre-game and halftime ad, an NFL spokesman confirmed. Also, the league’s broadcast partners will accept ads only from the NFL’s official sportsbook sponsors, which include DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars Entertainment. (Ads will also be available to four NFL-approved sportsbook operators, FoxBet, BetMGM, PointsBet and WynnBet, according to nbc.sports.com.) Rules prohibit the ads from showing active NFL players
FanDuel during NFL games will specifically plug only its sportsbook in ads that run in regional markets where sports betting is legal and where it offers mobile sports betting: New Jersey, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Tennessee. The ads show NFL viewers anxiously watching games with bets on the line during multiple in-game moments.
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