Play Alberta makes online gambling less scary

The government-run site parodies horror movies to stand out from a deluge of options that aren't yet legal in the province.
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Play Alberta’s new campaign is casting itself the safe gambling option in a wave of scary and unknown online options.

The “A Better Way To Play” campaign features three parodies of famous horror films: Scream, The Warriors and The Shining. The antagonists of those movies satirically represent Play Alberta’s grey market competitors, with the subject of the ad refusing their overtures in favour of Play Alberta’s services.

The goal of the campaign is to cut through the deluge of gambling websites that exploded in Canada following the legalization of single-sports betting in August last year, and get more Albertans to use PlayAlberta.ca.

To that end, Play Alberta is leaning into the fact that, as a legal entity, it can uniquely provide the peace of mind and security that comes with patronizing a government establishment. Albertans need a secure place to gamble online, as 80% of adults in Alberta gamble on at least one gambling activity annually adding to the $23 billion residents of the province spend on legal gambling annually.

“It’s just a human truth that we’ve heard stories of people not getting their payouts and your information stolen,” says Mark Lovely, creative director at McCann Calgary, the ad agency on the campaign. “There’s this kind of big grey market menacing, all encompassing entity that just feels like your money’s going offshore somewhere. There was just so much mystery around it. To be able to give people that security, of knowing that it’s regulated by the government and having that inherent trust, and also feeling like it’s just for us, I think that just squashed all the fear that people have when they want to gamble online.”

The campaign will air on TV, OLV and in cinemas in Alberta until Nov. 20. Production was handled by Kiddo Films with Steve Mapp directing the ads.