The best 2023 igaming campaigns: winning streaks and clever ruses

By Dan Nation

From social media aces to a crafty troll ruse, Dan Nation, SEO manager at ICS-digital, highlights some of 2023’s best social campaigns in igaming.

With so many igaming brands engaged in fierce competition, having a marketing campaign that stands out requires creativity, innovation and a pinch of good luck. 

Anyone looking for inspiration will find plenty in the class of 2023: a year that saw campaigns pushing boundaries, resonating with audiences and ultimately earning the attention of players.

The ace of social media

FanDuel Casino’s ‘Winning is Undefeated’ campaign wasn’t just about catchy slogans and free spins, it was a masterclass in leveraging psychological insights to tap into the very core of what motivates players. Here’s how they did it.

The campaign cleverly used research on 34,000 unique feelings to establish a powerful suggestion: winning isn’t just good, it’s the peak of human emotion. This creates a sense of desire, making potential players crave the ultimate feeling that FanDuel promises.

One post of the campaign included the sensation of catching thrown keys with just one hand and while it might seem light-hearted, it also serves a strategic purpose. The campaign connects the enjoyment of winning at the casino to everyday triumphs, making it accessible and relatable.

The idea is that anyone who’s experienced the sweet satisfaction of a minor victory can easily translate that feeling to the potential thrill of hitting it big at FanDuel.

Fan Duel’s Reward Machine and bonus spins offered concrete avenues for players to chase that winning feeling. This tangible action reinforces the message, transforming the abstract concept of winning into an immediate, achievable prospect.

Winning is Undefeated wasn’t just a one-off ad blitz. It’s become a core part of FanDuel Casino’s brand identity. This consistency builds long-term recognition and association between the platform and the ultimate feeling of victory.

The idea is that anyone who’s experienced the sweet satisfaction of a minor victory can easily translate that feeling to the potential thrill of hitting it big at FanDuel

The success of Winning is Undefeated lies in its focus on a universal human desire. Its adaptability and potential for future iterations are vast. Whether it’s incorporating new research on emotions or tailoring the message to specific demographics, FanDuel has created a great campaign to build on in coming years.

Responsible gambling royal flush

Safer Gambling Week 2023 wasn’t just another calendar event in the igaming industry, it was a resounding success that united operators, players and policymakers in a collective push for responsible betting.

The initiative transcended individual brands and organisations. Members of the British gaming industry came together as one, launching a series of targeted campaigns across online and offline channels. This unified front sent a powerful message about the industry’s commitment to player well-being.

The results speak for themselves. Safer Gambling Week 2023 saw a staggering 70% increase in social media engagement compared to 2022. 

Over 50 million impressions were generated across X, Facebook and Instagram, fuelled by the use of the #SaferGamblingWeek hashtag and creative content by various stakeholders. This extensive reach ensured that responsible gambling practices reached a wider audience than ever before.

Adding further weight to the campaign, a significant number of cross-party senior MPs and peers in the UK lent their support. This bipartisan backing from lawmakers served as a crucial validation of the initiative’s importance and its alignment with public policy goals.

The ultimate goal of Safer Gambling Week is to empower players to enjoy gambling while prioritising their well-being. And based on the positive outcomes of the 2023 campaign, there’s reason to believe that millions of people are now better informed about responsible gambling practices.

Safer Gambling Week 2023 saw a staggering 70% increase in social media engagement compared to 2022

This increased awareness can have a lasting impact on the industry, fostering a culture of responsible play for years to come.

The full house of innovation

The influencer boxing world collided with the traditional fight game as Jake Paul faced Tommy Fury in 2023. But beyond the punches thrown and jabs landed, this fight marked the entry of a new player – Betr, Paul’s own micro-betting platform. 

Launched in 2022, Betr promised a novel spin on sports betting, focusing on in-play micro-bets rather than traditional pre-game wagers.

However, it wasn’t just the platform’s innovative approach that turned heads. Betr’s debut was intricately woven into the build-up to the Paul-Fury fight, a masterclass in leveraging the influencer boxing ecosystem for maximum exposure. 

Paul subtly seeded the Betr name throughout his online antics, from casual mentions to cheeky social media jabs directed at Fury. This consistent yet organic integration kept Betr firmly planted in the audience’s minds, building anticipation alongside the fight hype.

As fight night approached, the gloves weren’t the only things on display. The Betr app became a prominent fixture in pre-fight interviews, training montages and even Paul’s walkout attire. This strategic placement ensured Betr reached every corner of the audience, from hardcore boxing fans to curious casual viewers.

The result? Paul might have lost the fight by split decision, but Betr landed a knockout in the marketing ring. The fight generated massive online engagement, with Betr seamlessly embedded in the conversation. This calculated crossover not only launched a new platform but also established Betr as a key player in the influencer boxing landscape.

But was it all sunshine and rainbows? Some criticised the move as an intrusive self-promotion stunt. Others questioned the long-term viability of relying solely on the influencer persona for market penetration.

The Betr app became a prominent fixture in pre-fight interviews, training montages and even Paul’s walkout attire

Whether a masterstroke or a risky gamble, the Paul-Fury fight became a case study in influencer marketing ingenuity. It demonstrated the potential of harnessing the hype and reach of the influencer boxing scene to launch new ventures.

The joker in the deck

In true Paddy Power fashion, the 2023 World Darts Championship wasn’t just about oche magic and feather flights. It was the stage for a bold, albeit controversial, stunt: the ‘Turning Treble 20 Green’ campaign. The Irish bookmaker unveiled a radical dartboard modifiction by swapping the traditional red treble 20 for a brand awareness-driven green one.

Darts purists were apoplectic. Traditionalists cried heresy. Social media erupted in a flurry of impassioned pronouncements. Had the very fabric of the sport been irrevocably altered?

But then, in a classic Paddy Power twist, days later the truth emerged – the green treble 20, it turned out, was a calculated ruse. A stunt, yes, but one with a noble purpose: for every 180 achieved during the Championship, £1,000 would be donated to Prostate Cancer UK.

The shock factor had served its purpose of grabbing attention and sparking conversation – and then some. The green treble 20 became a talking point, igniting discussions about both darts and men’s health.

Then came the real sting in the tail. After the final dart had been thrown, Paddy Power upped the ante and rounded up the £914,000 raised and made a cool £1m donation to Prostate Cancer UK. Not a bad haul for a bit of green paint and a cheeky post.

What’s more, the impact extended far beyond the money raised. Prostate Cancer UK confirmed a staggering 100,000 men had checked their risk of developing the disease during the campaign, with over 70,000 discovering themselves to be ‘high risk’. An incredible outcome directly linked to Paddy Power’s daring stunt.

Turning Treble 20 Green wasn’t just a marketing ploy; it was a masterclass in awareness-raising. It used humour, controversy and the passion of darts fans to tackle a serious issue head-on. Paddy Power might have ruffled feathers, but it also opened a vital conversation about men’s health and, ultimately, saved lives.

Beyond the leaderboard

2023 was a year where igaming campaigns pushed boundaries, resonated with audiences and ultimately raked in the chips. From FanDuel’s Winning is Undefeated tapping into the universal desire for victory to Paddy Power’s Turning Treble 20 Green using controversy to champion men’s health, each campaign showcased the power of creativity, innovation and even a touch of audacity.

But what does this mean for the future of igaming campaigns? Here are some key takeaways:

Emotional resonance is king: Campaigns that tap into universal human desires, like winning or the fear of missing out, will continue to be successful. Understanding and leveraging player psychology is crucial for crafting compelling narratives.

Collaboration is key: Whether it’s the unified front of Safer Gambling Week or the influencer boxing crossover with Betr, collaboration has proven its power. Brands that find innovative ways to partner with players, policymakers and even unexpected names like Jake Paul will have a distinct advantage.

 Embrace the element of surprise: While calculated risks can backfire, campaigns that dare to be different, like Paddy Power’s green treble 20, can generate massive buzz and awareness. However, the element of surprise should always be paired with a noble purpose and a well-executed follow-through.

 Data and adaptability are crucial: Understanding player behaviour through data analysis is key to tailoring campaigns for specific demographics and optimising their effectiveness. Additionally, campaigns need to be flexible and adaptable to changing trends and audience preferences.

The igaming landscape is constantly evolving and the campaigns that will truly hit the jackpot in the future are those that can adapt, innovate and, most importantly, connect with players on a deeper level. 

As we move forward, expect to see even more campaigns that blend creativity with data-driven insights, all while pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the exciting world of igaming.

Dan Nation

Dan Nation is an SEO specialist at ICS-digital, helping operators, affiliates and platform providers improve their online presence and visibility. Working across igaming and other highly competitive and highly regulated sectors, Dan carries out international research and advises on onsite and offsite strategy worldwide.

Back to The Top