William Hill seeks extra creative firepower ahead of national marketing push

william-hill-cheltenham-horse-tweedUK bookmakers William Hill are on the hunt for a new creative agency ahead of a major new marketing campaign.

Facing increased competitive pressures from newly enlarged betting behemoths like Paddy Power Betfair and Ladbrokes-Coral as well as from the government’s ever-enlarging tax take, Hills is prepping a nationwide ad campaign to boost its visibility in the hearts and minds of UK punters.

Campaign Live reported this week that Hills had held informal meetings with “a handful” of London-based creative agencies, three of which will be invited to make a pitch for the one-off brief. The new hire will likely be asked to assist Hills’ existing creative agency Bark & Bite, which operates out of Leeds and Manchester, on the upcoming campaign.

The increasingly cutthroat UK online betting market is forcing operators to devote more time, energy and money into finding ways to allow their brand to cut through the noise. Which probably explains why Hills enlisted PR agency Taylor Herring to help kick off the 2016 Cheltenham Festival by kitting out a racehorse with a three-piece Harris tweed suit.

The agency enlisted the help of former Alexander McQueen protégé Emma Sandham-King to design and complete the ensemble, a process that took four weeks, 18 meters of tweed shipped directly from the Isle of Harris and (no doubt) some delicate inquiries as to whether the horse in question – veteran equine Morestead – dressed, er, left or right.

Veteran jockey Tony McCoy – aka Sir Anthony after being knighted by Her Nibs in January – was selected to help Morestead model his new duds. McCoy, a two-time winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, said Morestead was a shoe-in to win ‘best dressed horse’ at this year’s festival, which ignores the possibility that former Gold Cup sponsors Paddy Power will take their revenge by kitting out a mule in a pink leather teddy.