Gala To Drop Sharon Osbourne?

I missed this news from last week, but it’s worth repeating. Apparently, Gala Bingo are considering dropping Sharon Osbourne as their celebrity face for their brand. Given the amount of work and branding that Sharon’s invoved in, the decision to replace will not be taken “lightly.”

Now, I’ve sort of mentioned this use of personalities to try and raise awareness of Bingo before, and personally, I think it’s extremely lazy and pointless. As good as Sharon Osbourne has done for Gala’s exposure, it belies a lack of imagination from the marketing people. Would the money be spent penetrating new markets (corporate, leisure, online, etc) or celebrity endorsements? My feeling is it’s misguided. In my opinion, simply aligning a company with a celebrity does little to either expand the reach or effectiveness of such campaigns.

Maybe Gala are waking up to this. If it was up to me, and I stress that thankfully, it’s not, I’d be looking at some very drastic shifts in marketing ahead of the impending smoking ban and its related concerns. Firstly I’d start with the online audience I have (in Gala’s case, TV and Net) and find ways of getting them to the halls. Then I’d look beyond the traditional markets – corporate Bingo packages and special nights, press publications beyond The Sun and ITV (think classy) and start raising the profile. A new audience is there waiting to be found with the right tools. Hopefully with this news, Gala are acting on finding these new audiences in a more focused way.

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