The founder and president of small-but-mighty Michigan marketing agency King Media said its award-winning responsible gambling campaign is all about trying to improve life for Michiganders.
Coleen King (above) told PlayMichigan that the Don’t Regret The Bet campaign King Media created in collaboration with the Michigan Gaming Control Board has been rewarding work for the 12-person agency with three offices in Michigan — East Lansing, Ada and Saint Joseph.
“The work that we do has to give back to the communities that we serve,” King said. “There are a lot of people who want us to work for them, but we only have so much capacity. [The work we do] it is based on what I feel is meaningful, that gives back to the communities that we serve and makes Michigan a stronger state.”
Bob Veasey, King Media’s executive creative director said, “A big part of what fills our cup here at King is doing work that does good here in Michigan. So, the fact that we’re able to do that in this case is just part of the reason to get up every day.”
King Media is in the second year of the campaign. In December, the full-service marketing, advertising, public relations and digital media firm was allocated $3 million in funding from the 2024 fiscal budget to extend the campaign.
“We were very thankful that the state recognizes the importance of the campaign, its effectiveness and that they chose to reinvest in Michiganders,” King said.
How King Media crafted an impactful responsible gambling campaign
Veasey said King Media, which is celebrating its 25th year in business, was tasked by the MGCB with creating a campaign that would resonate with Michiganders.
“We really want people to know that gambling comes with some risks, and they should be aware of that,” Veasey said.
“There’s just so much pro-gambling advertising out there right now. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing ads for gambling. And they’re making gambling seem fun and exciting. And it can be all those things, but we just wanted a campaign that gets a message out and says, ‘Hey gambling can be fun, but take it easy, be careful or you could you could get yourself into some trouble.'”
Veasey said coming up with the Don’t Regret The Bet slogan was key to making the ads impactful. He said arriving on the right slogan was a team effort that took many weeks.
“It takes a little bit of magic to get to those four-to-six words that can really get a point across, be sticky and fit on all the work,” Veasey said. “And we just went through iterations after iterations and then we finally landed on one and we said, ‘We should have probably come up with that in the very beginning.'”
Animation allowed them to craft a powerful message with light tone
Veasey (above) said using animation allowed King Media to tell hard-hitting “pretty big stories” that “people would hopefully be open to listening to” while maintaining a “lightness to the tone” that is entertaining. (Some of the spots can be viewed on King Media’s website.)
“[With animation] we can tell a story of somebody losing everything, from their house to their car [due to gambling],” he said.
“We can tell the story of someone who, literally, has their life turned upside down and they come crashing down to the floor. You can tell these kinds of big huge stories in animation that make a really good point, but do it in a way that’s not off-putting.”
For 2024, Veasey said the Don’t Regret The Bet campaign will expand, “to broaden the range of people we’re showing in the work in the animated world and come up with some more stories and hopefully more creative ways to get people’s attention and land our message that you need to be careful. Don’t regret the bet.”
Campaign wracked up solid numbers in first seven months
The Michigan responsible gambling campaign had a soft launch in March of 2023, but King Media reports that in the first seven months, coinciding with end of Michigan’s 2023 fiscal year on Sept. 30, Don’t Regret The Bet had:
- 29 million Facebook impressions reaching more than four million Michiganders, and generating nearly 176,000 clicks to the campaign website.
- 6.7 million impressions, reaching more than 806,000 people on Over The Top television (streaming content on the Internet).
- More than 8.6 million impressions, reaching more than 840,000 people via streaming audio.
- 6.6 million impressions, reaching more than 1.65 million people via podcast advertising.
- Ads that played more than 12 million times at more than 1,500 locations via Gas Station video, also called GSTV.
- 2.2 million plays on digital billboards, delivering more than 28 million impressions across 255 locations in the lower peninsula.
- 68,000 sessions and more than 57,000 users — along with more than 450 resource downloads — on the campaign landing page, dontregretthebet.org.
“It has been extremely successful,” King said. “It’s resonating with the people that we want to talk to in Michigan, and it’s making an impact. And we have a very modest budget compared to what is being spent between the casinos and then the online.”
The spots were even seen locally during the Detroit Lions’ playoff run.
“There was a lot of hype about the Lions going into the season,” King said. “So, I negotiated Lions games, NFL football, college football — you know, the good teams where viewership is always very high — before the Lions were really in the thick of things. So we got really good pricing because I’ve been in the industry for so many years.”
King Media gratified by awards
Don’t Regret The Bet also won several awards in its first year.
The campaign won a 2023 Platinum Viddy Award that honors video excellence in the digital world. Entries were judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.
Most recently, the campaign won a Platinum dotCOMM Award. The dotCOMM Awards is an international competition that honors excellence in web creativity and digital communication. More than 2,500 entries were submitted from around the world with 17% winning Platinum honors.
“It is absolutely, positively fantastic,” King said. “We submit our work to global competitions. I’ve always believed that to be the best you have to compete with the best. These global awards validate that our work is on par with the largest brands and the largest companies on the planet. I have an amazing creative team and would put them up against anybody.”
King said the MGCB has been a tremendous partner in the entire venture.
“They provide an awful lot of data and research and insight. And it has been extremely valuable to the success of the campaign,” King said. “It really is a true collaboration and partnership.
“We were very thankful that the state recognizes the importance of the campaign, its effectiveness and that they chose to reinvest in Michiganders.”