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IAS defends awarding ‘I want Germany to win’ anti-gambling ad, says it was effective

Anti-gambling ad on  Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

On Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: “Gambling is awesome”

The organisers of the Hall of Fame Awards have defended the decision to recognise a widely derided anti-gambling ad as one of Singapore’s best campaigns of the year.

The ‘Kick the habit’ ad for the National Council on Problem Gambling went viral after a boy in the ad complained about his father betting his life-savings on Germany to win the World Cup – only for Germany to go on and win the tournament. The ad was mocked in social media and drew international media coverage, including on US talk show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, for inadvertently supporting gambling.

The campaign won bronze at the Hall of Fame Awards in the Campaign of the Year (integrated) category, a decision that was greeted with derision by some at the ceremony on Friday night.

The Institute of Advertising, Singapore, which organises the Hall of Fame Awards, told Mumbrella that the campaign had been scored highly because it had proven effective.

“Our panel of judges gave the campaign a good score because it was effective in deterring bettors from excessive and irresponsible gambling,” IAS stated. “The campaign idea was thought-provoking and the agency seized every opportunity to reinforce the message that often it is not the gamblers who suffer from problem gambling but their loved ones.”

IAS quoted statistics that showed that the NCPG’s helpline received 105 gambling-related calls a day after the World Cup final on July 14.

“That’s twice the average and the highest number of calls for a single day. There was also a 20 per cent increase in the number of requests for counselling services,” the industry body claimed.

IAS added that the campaign, created by independent agency Goodfellas, “garnered many positive mentions in the news and online publications” and is “worthy” winner of the award.

Singaporeans spend more on gambling per head than any country in the world besides Australia. The gambling industry has boomed since two large casinos were opened in the citystate.

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