One of the trickiest challenges to overcome when deciding to advertise for online poker on TV is that you have to speak to such a wide variety of existing and potential customers. The online poker world is scene just like, I don’t know, X-game sports is a scene. Do anything that is branded as lame, sell-outish or clueles, by the scene and you’re taking risks with existing players. Focus on inside jokes and poker lingo and you’re not talking to Average Joe and probably shouldn’t have chosen to do TV ads in the first place.

For a brand like Winamax, who’s always aspired to be (and succeed in being) very in the know, it is particularly tricky. Here’s their latest ad targeting the regulated French market.

The idea of visualizing card combinations is old. I reviewed [intlink id=”695″ type=”post”]an ad on the same theme for betclic[/intlink] a while back.  Especially when the idea incorporates various nicknames that certain card combinations have been labeled with over the years like Big slick, American Airlines or German Virgins. Winamax’s simpler take on it, basically just visualizing the strength relationship between various card combinations, feels fresher. Less convoluted. And it doesn’t shoot over the head of Clarice and Armand from Bordeaux who is yet to play poker and wouldn’t understand a thing if you’d be having fun with gay waiters, cowboys and sailboats.

The audiovisual quality is right up there with the best ever seen from the  industry. Astounding animations and great settings. It’s almost like its made for those silly 3D glasses (I say silly because I don’t own any).  What I can’t decide, however, is if it feels too off topic or not. Associating online poker with prehistoric animals isn’t the first thing that springs to to mind even though it all comes together with the barbeque.

I like the punch line. I didn’t instinctively see it coming in that fashion. And I especially like the audio. Maybe it’s because I am non-French but chuckling Frenchmen asking what’s up(?) while tossing about steaks is just funny. It’s a refreshing cliché breaker.

The tagline “The important thing in poker is not the cards, it’s what you do with them” fits very well with Winamax’s brand. That line is what Winamax is all about imho. Extra points for that. The issue I might have with it is that it is a game-oriented tagline, not a brand-oriented tagline. Its’s as much a general statement about the game of poker as it is a statement about Winamax.

The reason I am not scoring it even higher is simply because I just didn’t find it ground-breaking enough. It takes a good, representative tagline and exploits it within the framework of a fairly safe concept that is executed in such a stunning manner that is bound to stand out during any commercial break. But it doesn’t actually explain why I should be playing at Winamax instead of somewhere else where it is also about the way you play the cards and not the cards themselves.


Medium rare Sirloin steak.

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