Due to the stigma associated with gambling addiction, less than 10% of problem gamblers ever seek help. Our objectives were simple: increase awareness and participation rates in treatment programs.
The ugly truth is that the wider community and problem gamblers themselves see gambling not as an addition but rather a weakness of character. It quickly dawned on us that while advertising could raise awareness, it could only go so far in helping problem gamblers feel empowered to actually seek help.
Therefore, rather than create advertising, we worked with clinical psychologists to create a whole new kind of treatment program that was inherently public and social: the 100-Day Challenge. We then promoted the program by showing the journey of four real gambling addicts as they undertook treatment, in real time, warts and all.
Firstly, we shifted awareness of treatment programs from 10% to 56%, well exceeding the target of 25%.
Secondly, we were able to increase the number of problem gamblers formally seeking help from 10% to 20%, again exceeding our target of 15%.
Lastly, only 10% of Victoria’s problem gamblers had participated in any form of treatment program. By the end of the campaign, 10% of Victoria’s problem gamblers had signed on to the 100-Day Challenge alone, effectively doubling treatment participation in the State. Our target was a modest 1%.
By creating a treatment program for gambling that was inherently public and social, we were able to drag gambling addiction out of the shadows and into the light.