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Agencies jockey for position as Entain Group pitches combined mega Ladbrokes and Neds account

Entain Australia – which houses bookmakers Ladbrokes and Neds – is pitching its consolidated media account for both brands, Mumbrella can reveal.

GroupM agency Essence, which is due to officially become EssenceMediacom at the start of 2023 is the incumbent on the account, and is thought to be looking to retain the client. The agency was contacted for comment ahead of publishing.

Group chief marketing officer of Entain, James Burnette told Mumbrella: “The business is now 10 years old, it’s now of sizeable scale, and we’ve reviewed what we’ve done across each of our departments. We’ve reviewed what we did in our tech department, across the whole of our market department, what we do with our product, and it was just to have a refreshed look at what we’re doing in media.”

Burnette said the decision to take the account to pitch is “no reflection on Essence at all”.

“It’s more a reflection that when we first started working with Ikon about 10 years ago, we were 42 staff spending $500,000, and now we’re 700 staff in a $10 billion business. We just need to run the ruler across everything.

Burnette confirmed the pitch is down to the final four, with the incumbent still in the running. The account has been with the agency through its several incarnations, first appointing Ikon, before it was rolled into AKQA Media, then Essence, and now to be part of the global GroupM agency, EssenceMediacom at the turn of the year.

CMO at Entain, James Burnett

According to data provided to Mumbrella by Nielsen, the total gambling category spend between 1 September 2021 and 31 August 2022 was $288,617,628, with Sportsbet again the top spender.

Following Sportsbet in second place was Tabcorp Holdings, with both Entain brands in the top five, Ladbrokes in number three and Neds at five. Pointsbet filled out fourth spot.

According to Nielsen, the gambling industry spent $287.2m on advertising in Australia across the 2021 calendar year, which was up on $271.3 million in 2020. Just over a decade ago in 2011, it sat at $89.7 million, with this excluding advertising on social media, sponsorships and in-program content.

In 2021, Entain spent a total of $128 million combined across both brands for its complete advertising and marketing services.

A secret report last month showed the new Albanese government is looking to crack down on advertising by online gambling companies, as per a report in The Australian stating the bookmakers may be forced to comply with a raft of pre-written taglines and other messages aimed at curbing problem gambling.

The Monkeys, part of Accenture Song, won the creative accounts for both Ladbrokes and Neds in October last year.

The pitch comes in the lead-up to the Spring Carnival racing season, with Ladbrokes yesterday launching its latest spot in the ‘Ladbroke it’ platform via The Monkeys and Essence. 

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