DraftKings and its agency Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (BSSP) are preparing for the 2016 NFL season with a new campaign featuring popular NFL players Rob Gronkowski from the New England Patriots and DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Oilers.
In one ad, super fan Jim is obsessed with Gronkowski so he calls himself Gronkamole. In the other spot, newtime Fantasy Sports Player Chuck puts Hopkins on his roster and "together" they deliver results. DeAndre goes so far as to say, "for a complete stranger we are hella tight."
The new advertising focuses on fan engagement and the "personal" relationship they feel with the players who they recruit on their fantasy teams. Last year, by comparison, the spots - voiced by actor Edward Norton - focused more on the game-play and likened fans to athletes competing to win.
DraftKings is also dropping its ad budget. After spending a reported $131.4 million on advertising last year, the company has said it plans to spend one quarter of that amount or around $32.85 million.
This new approach follows troubles faced by DraftKings and its competitor FanDual over state gambling laws. While some states passed regulations legalizing fantasy sports, others, such as New York and Texas, sought to ban it. The heavy ad spend by both companies raised their profiles encouraging this extra scrutiny. This season both brands hope to stay out of regulatory crosshairs.