Sometimes the most impactful design work is based on the simplest ideas, and here's a great example. Lucky Generals created a special 'crushed billboard' to be placed outside Arsenal's Emirates Stadium in north London on match day to raise awareness of gambling harms amongst football fans on their way to the game.
It was part of a campaign by the charity GambleAware to reduce the stigma of gambling harms. The campaign is supported by Paul Merson, the ex-Arsenal and England midfielder who has spoken openly about his recovery from gambling addiction.
The poster was inspired by 50 hours of interviews with people who have experienced gambling harms and features the quote: "It felt like gambling was crushing me until I talked to someone". To drive home the point, the top of the billboard has been crushed in the middle to highlight the overwhelming impact gambling can have on people.
Beer mats were also placed in the pubs surrounding the stadium, highlighting other ways gambling harms can affect how an individual feels. The aim of the campaign was to engage fans attending the game in an environment where gambling is typically discussed and encourage them to start a conversation about the issue.
The location was chosen because GambleAware data suggests that people in London are twice as likely to experience problems with gambling compared to the rest of Great Britain. However, two-thirds of Londoners (66%) would be put off talking to someone with gambling issues about their problem because of concerns related to stigma. The campaign is backed by the Football Supporters Association (FSA) and the Arsenal Supporters Trust.
Lucky Generals worked closely with Freuds+, who handled regional and sports PR outreach, and 23red, who delivered the partnerships with the FSA and Arsenal Supporter's Trust, as well as distributing the beer mats.
The work is part of a brand platform developed by Lucky Generals, led by creative directors Nick Bird and Lee Smith. Entitled 'Let's open up about gambling', this was launched earlier this year, with a campaign that spanned TV, OOH, print, radio and social.
The agency has created a distinctive visual and verbal identity for the brand as well as developed a long-term strategy that is built around people with lived experience of gambling harms. The aim is to encourage a more open conversation about the way gambling can make people feel in the hope that more people will use GambleAware's advice, tools and support.
"Crushing, overwhelming, foreboding: these are just some of the feelings associated with gambling harms," says Nick Bird. "These feelings are visceral but kept hidden inside. To confront the stigma associated with these feelings, we designed this billboard to bring them to life in a way that can't be ignored. We want to show those currently experiencing gambling harms that we understand how they're feeling and assure them that help is available. We also hope to raise awareness more broadly that gambling harms aren't just related to how much money you're losing."
"Gambling harms are hidden and complex in nature," says Alexia Clifford, GambleAware's chief communications officer. "For many people, feelings of shame and embarrassment prevent them from opening up to loved ones. Gambling harms can affect anyone, and it's important that we break down the stigma and encourage people to come forward and talk.
"We are launching this billboard in sight of the Emirates stadium, and hope that any match-going fans who see it and are worried about their gambling feel empowered to open up and speak to someone to get help and support."
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