If you’ve followed my rambles here over the years, you’ll know that one of my continuing bugbears is the way the game is marketed so unimaginatively. The vast majority of advertising around Bingo is aimed exclusively at females. Many online bingo sites echo this bias towards a female demographic, rich in pink colours and feminine offers and themes.
I can’t help but scratch my head at this narrow minded marketing and branding. Effectively, 50% of the market place is being put off the product. It annoyed me so much that I once made my own little satirical site called Bingo 4 Him in response to the heavily gendered slant the game continues to handicap itself with.
Let’s face it, blokes enjoy Bingo as much as the ladies. Cheap beer and grub, gaming and a social atmosphere, what’s not to like? Every male in my family plays, and the every club I’ve ever been at has a healthy amount of blokes playing. But as I’ve mentioned here before, some males are so ashamed to being playing the game online, they hide behind female user names lest people know.
I hasten to add that I believe many more men would probably join in with online bingo if they didn’t think they were stepping into a ladies’ domain. But don’t worry about those millions of untapped novice players out there marketing world. Instead why not just alienate them with lazy advertising campaigns and silly clichés? It’s not like the industry needs the money is it? If you think the game’s not popular to blokes, look to Spain where more blokes play it online than women. Not appealing to us? Think again!
Okay, so why am I having a rant? Well, a couple of adverts the last month have had me scratching my head and wondering what was being thought about when they came up with their plans to basically alienate half their potential audience. First up was Paddy Power Bingo’s advert that featured the tag line ‘Where have all the women gone?’ One advert managed to raise a lot of heckles to the point it ended up being banned on the underground. Whilst funny, its message is simple – Bingo is a women’s game. As amusing and politely offence as the advert is, I’d defy any bloke to go sign up with them after seeing it.
Then last week, the much talked about new Foxy Bingo advert being aired for the first time, and what do you know, once again it’s a ladyfest. Just look at it below, a soundtrack about free games for ‘my sisters and me’, cries of ‘come on ladies!’ and a pink bus. It’s telling that the only bloke that really features in the advert other than the Pied Piper like Foxy is a stiff. Personally, I’d rather be seen dead than telling my mates I play at Foxy after seeing that advert!
To be fair Foxy should be applauded for including their membership in the advert. But surely blokes play at Foxy too? Last time I was there I remember seeing the odd fellow about. Compare this with say Sun Bingo. They have their players in their advertising – but look at the difference. Blokes in there, no mentions of gender and if I recall my stats correctly from the last Online Bingo Summit, Sun Bingo has nearly as many male players as female.
But it’s not just the advert that’s appealing to blokes and instrumental in getting them playing at online bingo sites. Just compare the actual sites as well. Foxy Bingo features a pink colour scheme – an offer for a spa weekend and a big picture reinforcing the feminine slant from the advert. Then look at Sun Bingo – I don’t think a single bloke could be put off by that. If anything, with the addition of their new Battleships game, it’s doubly appealing to us blokes.
I realise there are seasonal and promotional elements that will change over time, but if Bingo wants to extend its appeal, it needs to stop being so gender specific. Personally, as a fellow I’d rather be playing at a site that wasn’t quite so gender specific as the likes of Foxy. Until these more feminine sites start making us blokes feel at home and de-genderise their designs, promotions and marketing, they’re going to be losing a large chunk of potential players and the revenues they have to spend.