Putting people struggling with problem gambling back in the picture

Office of Problem Gambling Services

The Challenge

A population targeted and silenced by shame

A population targeted and silenced by shame

The Massachusetts Office of Problem Gambling Services (OPGS) drives the state’s public health response to problem gambling. Since 2018, Argus has been working with OPGS to develop an overarching platform and raise awareness for both the general public and for populations disproportionately affected by problem gambling.

One such population in Massachusetts is Asian Americans– specifically Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean communities. A lack of culturally relevant entertainment options in these communities leads many Asian Americans to seek out casinos for stress relief and social interaction. And the casinos capitalize on this, using targeted marketing to attract Asian American customers and keep them gambling. Besides higher rates of problem gambling, Asin Americans are also impacted by shame and stigma associated with mental health and financial struggles, which keeps people from seeking help – or even engaging in honest dialogue about the issue. We had to find a way to lower barriers, build trust, and kick-start a real conversation about the impact of gambling in the community.

Services Provided:

  • Strategy
  • Creative and Design
  • Content
  • Advertising
  • Social / Cause Marketing
  • Stakeholder Outreach and Community Engagement
  • Research
  • Motion / Graphics / Animation

The Solution

Building trust within the community

To do this, we had to be very intentional about collaborating with community-based organizations in both the initial research phase and in developing creative concepts and final messaging. We conducted stakeholder interviews with community experts as well as focus groups in Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese languages. We also used GIS demographic analysis to target campaign assets where they would have the most impact.

Our campaign, titled “Don’t miss out,” leveraged Asian-American values by focusing on people’s role in their families, and communities – and what they miss out on when they lose themselves to gambling. Based on sound social marketing principles, we used compelling images to normalize open conversations about gambling risk within families and support systems, and direct Asian Americans to culturally-appropriate resources.

With an initial run from June to August 2023, in English, Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese, the campaign comprised social, display, and out of home executions focused in the communities with the highest Asian populations in Massachusetts.

The Results

A shift in the conversation

The campaign delivered 36 million impressions across all channels. Social media and display channels performed extremely well across all languages. We saw great engagement with the out of home placements, with almost 180 QR code scans. There were over 20,500 visits to the campaign landing page, which contains information on the warning signs of problem gambling, as well as local Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean community resources for individuals and families. Following this successful first iteration, the campaign will run on an annual basis with updated creative to continue to increase relatability for all Asian American demographics.