New marketing ventures: Q&A with Gala Bingo's head of acquisition Jonathan Bowden

New marketing ventures: Q&A with Gala Bingo's head of acquisition Jonathan Bowden

Thursday, September 21, 2017 Posted by Joseph Streeter caught up with Gala’s head of acquisition Jonathan Bowden, to discuss the operator’s new sponsorship deal among other things
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Formed in 2006, Gala Bingo has grown to become one of the UK’s leading Bingo Operators, with the company boasting an expansive customer base playing online at

August was a busy month for Gala, as the brand not only released a landmark sponsorship deal with primetime Channel 5 soaps, Neighbours and Home and Away, it also released the first bingo app in the Google Play store. caught up with Gala’s head of acquisition, Jonathan Bowden, to discuss the operator’s new sponsorship deal among other things.  

Totally Gaming: Gala recently became the official sponsor of Neighbours and Home & Away. Could you tell us a little more about why this sponsorship deal is the perfect way for you to reach out to your target demographic?

Jonathan Bowden: These two programmes on channel 5 have a wealth of heritage in the UK, in fact, although set in Australia, they’re practically British institutions. We speak frequently with our players to understand the likes and dislikes of the demographic. Consequently, our plans are responsive to and reflective of, what they enjoy or watch in their daytime schedule. Knowing our players in the context of the world outside of Gala and understanding their pastimes and behavior is a key factor in planning for the brand. Watching TV and more specifically, these type of shows is a popular past time among our demographic so TV sponsorship of this type is a natural vehicle to extend our reach and a perfect fit for our target audience.

Alignment of our brand with TV programmes with strong viewer figures,watched by players and would be players alike, enables us to not only connect with our existing customers, but to reach a whole new audience additionally.

TG: As a brand, how can you make sure you get the most out of the sponsorship?

JB: It’s a different kind of sponsorship for us, our sponsorship of The Chase is unique in that we have associated products on site. Equally with our Soap partnerships such as Coronation Street and Emmerdale, we have branded licensed products. Home and Away and Neighbours are a little different, as we don't have any specific games offering that the player can then go and play as part of the sponsorship activation. That said, we know that these programmes index really well for us and our welcome offer and online games suite are strong enough to engage the viewer once they respond to the sponsorship creative.

Ensuring that we have a strong brand presence at these viewing times is also key. The creative is very much in line with our new tv campaign that went live in March of this year, ‘happy happens’.

TG: Do you have any plans to expand your sponsorship portfolio further?

JB: Not currently, our main focus is taking full advantage of our existing sponsorship porfolio and getting our brand out there in such away that aligns with the Home and Away and Neighbours branding, thus ensuring that it is recognizable as Gala, telling our Play Happy story while simultaneously connecting with the Aussie theme of both Home and Away and Neighbours through the ident creative.

TG: Moving on from marketing, Gala recently became the first bingo app to launch in Google Play Store, has this proven to be popular amongst fans of mobile betting?

JB: We know that the android platform is extremely popular, and more players are now playing on mobile than on desktop as has been the case for a while. When apps were approved for release into the play store, we saw it as a huge opportunity, to not only reach out to existing players, but also as access to a channel where new players could locate us. It was a huge opportunity for us and the industry. We ensured our marketing plans and activities were fully in place for go live and the launch has been really successful. It demonstrates an effective collaborative effort across our teams, from Marketing to Development, ensuring targeting and functionality is aligned and giving players the best experience possible when using the app.

TG: More generally, how has business been for Gala in the first half of 2017?

JB: There have been many challenges in recent years and this year is no exception. Plans are essentially finalised for the remainder of 2017 but we will continue to evolve and react as necessary. We will build on our "Play Happy" strategy and extend on our achievements. Launching our ‘Happy Happens’ TV campaign was a real highlight for us and has been delivering strongly and consistently. We will further extend the campaign over the latter part of the year, building on the concept and ensuring that our existing and new customers enjoy a quality and fun experience that correlates with our TV creative. This month we launched our most recent above the line campaign, guaranteeing players a win every day exclusively at, which we know is a massive USP that resonates with all Bingo Players and we are confident will perform well. In March we launched our new slots site,, it's been a big year for us and we are hoping that we continue the momentum over the remainder of the year.

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