Over the weekend I was catching up on some YouTube only to be confronted with an odd and rather creepy advertisement from Sportsbet entitled “50 Shades of Greyhound”. Designed as a parody of the trailer for the movie “50 Shades of Grey” the ad parodied the original trailer with a twist, having the male protagonist depicted by a greyhound.
In the span of a week, this ad has already amassed over 300,000 views on YouTube. The video has over 10,000 likes on Facebook and has been shared just under 5,000 times.
Viral marketing has gained increased precedence amongst well known brands who want to connect with a younger audience. Brands such as Old Spice, Air New Zealand and Metro Trains have been able to gain world wide awareness and recognition through viral marketing. While the impact of some viral campaigns have been questionable, we believe that the most important thing for a viral campaign is its context.
Personally, I found the Sportsbet 50 Shades of Greyhound ad in bad taste. However I can see their context.
The betting market is a mature and competitive industry with many players. While many individuals who engage in betting and gambling are over 50, there is a growing demographic engaging in online gambling between the ages of 18 to 29. Viral videos and an active social media presence are an effective way of reaching this demographic.
Looking at the social media pages for Sportsbet, they have just under 500,000 likes on Facebook, 98,000 followers on Twitter and over 4,000 subscribers on YouTube. Their content is clearly cutting through to their target markets.
Past campaigns have included parodies of television shows such as Wife Swap and Game of Thrones. They have also taken to making fun of their own customers during the cricket and spring carnival seasons through advertisements depicting various customer segments as “bogan”, the “handholder” and the “International”.
In creating this “lad-like” content, Sportsbet has been able to personify itself as a mate to its younger demographic, breaking boundaries and creating engagement.
50 Shades of Greyhound has been designed for those young men, who may have been forced to watch 50 Shades of Grey with their partner. It also attracts the attention of those questioning the significance of this movie. It is an impossible situation that makes a cheeky link back to its offering.
While I clearly did not enjoy it, I can see young men around the country discussing this advertisement, looking at their phones and checking for the next greyhound race!