After two Royal Commissions, can Crown’s new ad redeem its brand?

Crown Resorts has unveiled a new brand platform and campaign, signalling a major shift in direction after two Royal Commissions slammed the company’s gambling practices.

The new campaign doesn’t appear to mention gambling at all, instead focusing on entertainment and food.

But industry experts question whether it will be enough to shift public perception of the brand, after the Victorian Royal Commission found that the company had engaged in conduct that was “illegal, dishonest, unethical and exploitative.”

It is a major brand relaunch for Crown.

For the first time in nearly a decade, it has refreshed its brand strategy, visual identity and communications platform, as well as a new creative campaign – ‘Here’s Where Things Get Interesting’ – via The Monkeys, part of Accenture Song.

Crown Resorts’ chief brand and corporate affairs officer, Danielle Keighery, said: “Our brand strategy sets a new north star that shifts perceptions of the old Crown as just a casino and hotel to now being seen as a world-class entertainment destination.”

In 2021, the Victorian Royal Commission into Crown Resorts made 33 recommendations, including that the business operate under the supervision of a ‘Special Manager’ for two years. The Commission had heard damning reports of money laundering and organised crime links, with similar reports at a separate Western Australian Royal Commission held the same year into the Perth casino operations.

Since then, the company has undergone extensive work to improve practices across the business, and has seen significant leadership change. Crown Resorts was bought by US private equity giant Blackstone last year.

The new campaign is designed to “signal a new era” for the brand.

Tara Ford, chief creative officer at The Monkeys: “Crown is a place where you can be spontaneous and just see where the night takes you. It’s a place where things can get interesting. Nights like those that have a certain magic to them, that you always remember.”

The spot was shot by Finch’s Christopher Riggert, with the goal of reconnecting Crown with “feelings of energy and excitement.” It showcases marquee destinations and experiences, including live entertainment, awards nights, celebrity sightings and gala events.

In a media release announcing the brand relaunch, Crown described the spot as ending “in a drumroll; a sound universally understood as a symbol of entertainment. It tells us something is coming; highlighting the journey Crown is on.”

An OOH execution as part of the new campaign

But The Hallway’s CEO, Jules Hall, and Peter Wilkinson, crisis PR specialist and chair of Wilkinson Butler, both suggested the platform may not truly reposition the brand from the audience’s perspective.

Wilkinson said he doesn’t appreciate when ads conceal the truth, and Australia tends to do this often: “We have a history of them, made atrociously infamous with cigarettes, but also less notoriously with banks, weight-loss companies, political campaigns, and many more.

“This is a great ad. But, this ad belongs to that family,” he continued. “It tells an alluring, but deceptive story. Behind the compelling façade lurks a darker truth.

“Here is the unvarnished truth: there’s great entertainment at Crown, and while you are here, spend some time at the roulette wheels,” Wilkinson said. “I suspect though, and perhaps without forethought, it’s like the clever ads that once associated cigarettes with a glamorous lifestyle.”

Hall agreed, saying it is a great ad and a logical step for the brand:  “The clue is in the name. Crown is more than a casino. And so it makes sense to be dialling up the other experiences they offer.

“The ads that have been PR’d clearly focus on the non-gaming audiences, showing them the other experiences on offer at Crown Resorts,” he continued. “That said, I’d imagine there are a fair few executions that haven’t been shared in the agency’s PR that talk to the gaming product.

“Will this be enough to overcome entrenched perceptions? Probably not – we know how they make their money. But it will hopefully move the needle in the right direction. That said, it’s been done before. In 2012 The Star launched a similar platform, ‘There Will Be Stories’, with a similar ad (made by a similar agency). At least they had a cursory nod to the gaming product.

“Ignoring it completely feels a little disingenuous,” he concluded.

Another client of The Monkeys is TAB, which went through a brand repositioning in August – interestingly shifting away from gambling, to focus solely on sport.

TAB’s general manager of brand and marketing, Vanessa Sanford, said at the time: “TAB is being re-born in this campaign…TAB is not ditching the famous green, but we’re certainly going to have more fun with many more shade of green.”

Ford said: “This refresh for TAB is a fun homage to our passionate, sport-obsessed nation. Even though it’s lighthearted, the debate is real.

“We are looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds, knowing TAB is here for it all,” she said at the time.


Client: Crown Resorts

Creative and strategy agency: The Monkeys, part of Accenture Song
The Monkeys Group CEO & Accenture Song ANZ President: Mark Green

Chief Creative Officer: Tara Ford
Executive Creative Director: Barbara Humphries
Creative Director: Sam Dickson

Creative Director: Cameron Bell

Senior Art Director: Danny Pattison

Senior Copywriter: Max Rapley
Senior Creative Stills: Peter Citroni
Managing Director: Matt Michael
Chief Strategy Officer: Hugh Munro

Business Strategy Director: Tim Wilson Brown
Group Business Director: Katie Wong-Hee
Senior Business Manager: Celine Dinant
Head of Production/Producer: Penny Brown
Senior Film Producer: Simone O’Connor
Lead Integrated Producer: Vanessa Fernandez

Producer: Maria Cruz

Identity: Maud, part of Accenture Song
Executive Creative Director: Richard Smalley

General Manager: Grace Rennie

Strategy Director: Paul O’Connor

Senior Business Director: Kate McIntosh
Senior Creative Stills: Peter Citroni

Design Director: Thomas Clayton, Tomas Sabattucci

Designers: Lachlan Richards, Gary Corr

Typography: Margot Lévêque Studio and Weltkern 

Motion: Federico Leggio and Eva Godney

Production Company: Finch
Director: Christopher Riggert
Producer: Kate Menzies

Studio P – Peta Dermatis
McGregor Casting – Stevie Ray

Original Music & Sound Post: Sonar Music

Edit House: The Editors

VFX: FIN Design + Effects

VFX Supervisors: Mikey Brown, Justin Bromley, Stephanie Pocklington

VFX Producer: Isabelle Howarth

Head of VFX & EP: Alastair Stephen

Colour: Fergus Rotherham

Stills Production: Chee Productions

Photography: Simon Eeles

Retouching: Cream

Media Strategy: Initiative
National Managing Director: Sam Geer

Chief Strategy and Product Officer: Chris Colter 

Managing Director, Sydney: Jo McAlister

Head of Communications Design, Sydney: Ryan Haesler

Head of Partnerships, Sydney: Daniela Rocchi

Client Director: Alison Bongailas 

Investment Partnerships Manager: Sophie Hobson


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