How Successful are Full Tilt’s Pro Free Ads?

Full Tilt Poker Logo

It may be less than a week since Full Tilt Poker announced that it would not be renewing its sponsorship contracts with pros Viktor Blom and Gus Hansen, but the company has acted fast, and is already rolling out a brand new series of commercials. The ads are most notable because they are the first in some years for the site which don’t feature any professional players. How do they stack up, then, and do they still carry the appeal of pro based ads?

First up, take a look at the two new Full Tilt ads, then check out my analysis below.

Ad One ‘The Bluff':

Ad Two ‘The Call':

Why advertise with pros?

First of all, I think it’s important to consider why there’s such a trend in poker (mobile, online and in real life) to fill your commercial space with pros. I think the simplest answer is that they scream success; they are the people who any player dreams of becoming, and seeing their success makes us believe in our own.

Just like how the guy driving the car being advertised in a commercial will always pull up outside a luxury house, the idea the spending your money on something will make you successful is one of the key tenets of advertising. With poker, that simply means that one of the laziest ways to advertise is to roll out the people who have already enjoyed some success and wave them in your face.

So why is Full Tilt moving away from pro?

Well, in their own words, Full Tilt wants “to move away from pro-centric advertising to focus on the experiences and stories of the vast majority of our players”. Cutting ties with pros is all the rage at the moment, with other sites like PokerStars and PartyPoker both recently ending contracts with star players.

One suggestion levelled time and again is that the professional just aren’t proving to be good value for money for the poker sites, as the revenue they create is perceived to be less, or negligible against what it costs to keep them on the payroll. Whatever the reason, I for one am looking forward to some creative marketing that moves away from the ‘look at our smiling pros’ model.

How successful are the new ads?

The first thing that struck me was how – despite not featuring pros – the ads were both very ‘personality’ centric. What I mean by this is that it they still weren’t selling the concept of poker, but rather the skill and involvement of the players featured in the ad… suspiciously similar to when the actors were simply pros.

This said, because of the anonymity of the players (no name coming up on screen, or ‘Hi, I’m so-and-so’) the ads enjoy a far more cinematic feeling, and it’s arguable that they are more successful at selling the idea of these players being and ‘everyman’ character, rather than paid pros. This fits well with Full Tilt’s mission statement of wanting to focus more on the individual players’ stories.

A closing thought for you on these two ads: I think it is a shame that the ad makers thought it was a good idea to do that zoom out at the end, from the luxury poker room and table through the phone/tablet of the players. It’s still an unfortunate truth at in that juxtaposition, poker apps don’t look that great. Obviously, I’m one of the biggest proponents of mobile poker, but it just doesn’t have the aesthetic advantage to survive such an obvious comparison.


Full Tilt elsewhere on Droid Poker

Full Tilt Poker to Expand Mobile Offering?
Top 10 UK Mobile Poker Sites

Full Tilt elsewhere in the news this week

Players with Incomplete Petitions Could See Their Full Tilt Poker Claims Denied
Full Tilt Founder Ray Bitar Near Death and Broke

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