Leeds City Council


Beat the Odds: World Cup Takeover

Beat the Odds: Encouraging gamblers in Leeds to give betting the boot during the 2018 World Cup.

In the summer of 2018, the whole world was sent into football frenzy as the biggest event in the sporting calendar hit our screens. We seized this opportunity to launch a second strand to our Beat the Odds campaign to deliver messages about gambling related harm to a captivated social media audience.

Objectives of the campaign

To create a second strand to the Beat the Odds campaign to target problem gamblers during the 2018 World Cup.

Create social media content to appeal to football fans who are likely to use betting apps throughout the World Cup.

Raise awareness of gambling support services in Leeds and increase traffic to the Money Information Centre website.

To be able to measure the success of the campaign.

Did you know?

Football now dominates the ‘remote betting’ sector – it accounts for 31.2% of the industry, with horse racing at 19.6%.

Gambling related harm is a national problem, but particularly prevalent in Leeds. Casual gambling, like betting on sports events, is on the rise and can often lead to much more serious gambling issues.


We decided on a content marketing approach for this campaign, as through insight, we discovered that social media would be the most effective method of ‘competing’ against the high volume of gambling content promoted by gambling sites.

Using social media to get our messages across would also mean that the content would reach our target audience at the point they could be considering placing a bet as it’s likely they would scroll through social media at the same time as using betting apps.

We stayed true to the original Beat the Odds branding but incorporated football-related icons such as football shirts and badges to create a World Cup feel.

We knew the campaign wouldn’t be as effective if we purely promoted anti-gambling messages, so instead we created a rich variety of messages to engage our audience including reactive content during important matches, England supporter graphics, World Cup trivia and betting mythbusters.

In order to maximise the success of our content we regularly monitored tweet performance and engagement, and switched up the time, day of the week and tone of the messages to reflect our findings. We kept an eye on the news, current affairs and the latest World Cup trends to inform our content and regularly created new graphics and messages to keep momentum.

We tailored the language we used to appeal to football fans, adopting phrases like ‘it’s coming home’ and ‘smashed it’ and made the most of the trending hashtags, including #itscominghome #threelions and #waistcoatwednesday.