Sharon Osbourne faces an uncertain future with Gala

Gala is considering dropping Sharon Osbourne as the face of the brand
less than a year after she was signed up. The bingo operator says it is
reviewing its marketing strategy ahead of this summer’s smoking ban.

Osbourne appeared in the launch campai…

Sharon%20BingoGala is considering dropping Sharon Osbourne as the face of the brand less than a year after she was signed up. The bingo operator says it is reviewing its marketing strategy ahead of this summer’s smoking ban.

Osbourne appeared in the launch campaign for the operator’s online bingo game and Gala also sponsored her ITV chat show, which was panned by critics.

Gala says that it needs to attract more younger members and to encourage them to visit more often as it fears it may lose regular players once the smoking ban is brought in. Gala marketing director Kate Howe says its marketing strategy will need to reflect that change.

Howe adds that no decision has been taken and that it retains the option to extend Osbourne’s contract by up to a year, but her role as a brand ambassador is under review.

She says/ "We have to be clear: is the idea of celebrity right? If so, is Sharon the right one? We wouldn’t walk away from her lightly."

The brand’s biggest marketing campaign to date is due to break in October and is expected to be both brand and product led. It will be created by The Red Brick Road, which was handed the Gala Coral group advertising account in December (MW December 14, 2006).

Gala has also announced a partnership with loyalty scheme Nectar, which it expects to roll out ahead of the ban, and is also introducing new products, such as a rollover bingo jackpot, which will be allowed under the relaxation of gambling rules in autumn.

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