Edition #4: Gambling harm

The words
The words
The campaign message projected onto a building in central Auckland

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New Zealand students shine a light on sports betting

In October last year, a group of communication students from Auckland University of Technology projected an animated film onto the side of a building in central Auckland to highlight the risks of sports betting.

The film, created by design student Javeria Lijima, tells the story of John, an animated character who watches a live rugby game with his friends and faces decisions around sports betting and the potential consequences.

The students were recruited to work with the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand as part of a project for the university's student-run public relations agency, Outside the Square.

Make it about the game, not the gambling

After being given a choice of gambling-related issues, the students decided to focus on sports betting. Their decision was informed by research from the University of Sydney's Gambling Treatment Clinic that identified an increase in online betting among young males.

The students' concerns around this issue were heightened in the lead-up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup, when they observed an increase in advertising from the TAB encouraging New Zealanders to participate in sports betting.

'The NZ$32 million that was spent at the TAB on the last Rugby World Cup in 2011 contributed to our concern around the issue of sports betting,' says public relations student Gabi Davis. 'The animated projection was a way for us to raise awareness around this issue.'

The students' message for the animation was simple: make it about the game, not the gambling.

Watch the animation:

View video transcript

Campaign kicks off during the Rugby World Cup

Public relations student Alexia Morris says time and place were key to the success of the project.

'We were concerned that a culture of sports betting was creeping into New Zealand's sports, and wanted to do something creative that would raise awareness on a hard hitting issue that was relevant in New Zealand at that time,' she says.

The NZ$32 million that was spent at the TAB on the last Rugby World Cup in 2011 contributed to our concern around the issue of sports betting.

'We specifically chose an area with heavy foot traffic near the university to try and capture our target audience, which was young males. And we chose the night before a major rugby game when the All Blacks were playing, to get people thinking.'

The projection drew attention from over 300 people who passed by the screening and viewed the short film.

Andree Froude, marketing and communications director for the Problem Gambling Foundation, says they had worked with students from Outside the Square on previous campaigns and knew they were great at coming up with and executing creative ideas.

'The students really wanted to raise awareness around an issue they thought was important and relevant. They wanted to highlight the risks associated with sports betting and encourage New Zealanders to enjoy the actual game, rather than focus on the betting,' she says.

Students from Outside the Square: (L to R) Robyn Visser, Gabi Davis, Aneka Burden and Alexia MorrisStudents from Outside the Square: (L to R) Robyn Visser, Gabi Davis, Aneka Burden and Alexia Morris

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