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The Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to problem gambling prevention.

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Colgate-Palmolive Agrees to Change Ad

by Jon Kelly, CEO | May 18, 2012 11:17 AM

Newscan (Vol. 14, Issue 19)

About a month ago, the Responsible Gambling Council (RGC) received an email from a member of the public complaining about a TV commercial for Mennen Speed Stick. Having personally seen the consequences of problem gambling first-hand, the man thought the commercial was troubling.

Entitled, “No Bluff, No Glory,” the ad depicted a man in his twenties sitting around a table playing poker. The voice-over indicated that the man was stressed because he was “bluffing” and putting all of his rent money into the pot. He then went on to win the hand. The ad’s main point was clear (Mennen Speed Stick helped the man keep his cool); the problem, however, is not only did the main character bet all of his rent money—he won by playing recklessly.

Canadian gaming providers, governments, and non-profit organizations like RGC spend tens of millions of dollars each year trying to discourage the type of irresponsible play and messaging that this ad conveys—especially among 18-24 year olds, the demographic group with the highest rates of problem gambling of any age group. Betting one’s rent money is about as bad a message as we could devise.

In response to the ad, RGC contacted Colgate-Palmolive, the company that owns Mennen. We shared our concerns with Anne-Marie Motte, the VP of Marketing for Colgate-Palmolive Canada. Anne-Marie explained the strategy behind the ad, yet understood the issues we were raising. Of course, the ad creators had no understanding of the spill-over implications of their ad. To her credit, Anne-Marie offered to change the ad to remove the reference to betting rent money. Beyond this, she sent us the revised wording for the new ad to review.

So, thanks to Anne-Marie Motte and Colgate-Palmolive for their responsiveness to our concerns. This is a great example of a corporation putting its corporate values into practice.