While we missed the fun and games of the Jackpotjoy ads while they were absent from our TV screens, it seems that there was a lot of work going on behind the scenes to ensure that when we saw the brand on TV again we were going to notice.
In September 2017 we saw a new advert released and although Barbara Windsor featured as the Queen of Bingo, it was only to be sent on holiday by royal wannabee Paddy McGuinness.
This is another big production marking a new phase in the development of Jackpotjoy. The same month the online bingo site itself got a whole new look and they took the opportunity to give the TV advertising a brand new look too.
Paddy McGuinness looks really dapper in his royal blue suit and a worthy successor to the Queen of Bingo herself. We have it on good authority that this will not be the last we see of Barbara Windsor in the role of the Queen of Bingo, but noticed that many of the graphics featuring this character around the site, in its advertising and social media giveaways disappeared.
Paddy is definitely determined to make an impression as the clown prince of Jackpotjoy with his invitation to ‘come and Jackpotjoy-n us and grab fun by the balls!’
There is likely to be one more advertising instalment featuring both characters before the Queen abdicates and sails away into the sunset leaving Paddy in charge.
2010 – The Queen of bingo
At 8.48pm on Friday, 12th September 2010 over on BBC1, the Eastenders Queen of Walford, Peggy Mitchell, walked away from the Queen Vic (supposedly for the last time) with just one sorrowful backward glance. Cue the music – not the usual ‘DoofDoof’ we all know and love, but ‘Peggy’s Theme’, a sadder alternative version of the Simon May original programme theme music.
A quick click of the remote to ITV and two minutes later we see ‘Peggy’ again, as Barbara Windsor is launched onto the world as the larger than life Jackpotjoy ‘Queen of Bingo’.
The Queen is dead, long live the Queen!
In an inspired piece of marketing the Beta agency carefully planned this new campaign for the popular online bingo site to make the biggest impact. Having won the contract in 2009 the forward planning to take the Queen of Walford and turn her into the Queen of Bingo was a brilliant move and had a massive impact on the public awareness of Jackpotjoy and probably online bingo as a whole.
It brought it into the mainstream of public consciousness. These ads included a whole entourage of people surrounding the Queen; roguish Jack and beautiful Joy and two fan wafting manservants.
Big balls, little balls
The idea of the two manservants has been retained from these early ads and has grown and developed over the years. Now we often see the ‘Queen’ flanked by barely dressed hunks doing her bidding!
2012 – Just for the Jackpotjoy of it
2 years on and the baton had been passed to the Isobel agency when Beta did not tender for the renewal of the Jackpotjoy business. This brought us the era of the mantra ‘Just for the Jackpotjoy of it!’ which saw the Queen of Bingo retain her throne, but threw her into lots of more diverse situations.
She was in a studio producing music made from weird and wonderful objects instead of proper instruments, she was part of a huge studio game show production, complete with over excited audience and catch songs and then starting a race at Santa Pod, but with pensioners racing their mobility scooters!
All this seems to have paid off as the ad featuring the Santa Pod racing pensioners was voted the TV ad of the Year in the WhichBingo Awards 2012. That indicates that these adverts really struck a chord with players and viewers.
2012 – Stuff and money
As well as the TV adverts there were other media set ups such as creating a ‘Fun’dation and undertaking stunts like sailing a giant yellow duck down the Thames. You get a feel for how big it is when Tower Bridge had to be raised for it to pass underneath!
2014 – Blue jackpot balls
In December 2013 Beta won back the Jackpotjoy contract without a pitch and the Palace of Joy became the venue for a series of ads. The Queen still had two flunkeys at her beck and call and the innuendos flew thick and fast.
This one from August 2014 as particularly near the knuckle.
This same ad has then been reworked in various ways to incorporate different giveaways going on at the site.
The blue Jackpotjoy balls have become quite iconic and synonymous with the brand. Players love them and huge numbers have been produced to send out for players to keep and giant ones have even been made to be picked up by crane at the side of the Thames to reveal even more prizes.
2015 – Jackpotjoy sold to Intertain
Things went a bit quiet on the TV marketing front in 2015 and early 2016. The Jackpotjoy business was sold to Canadian firm Intertain in April 2015 and the brand seemed to abandon the standard 30 second between programme big budget commercial and instead moved on to sponsorship of some high profile TV shows instead. This meant producing short and punchy 5 second bumpers that were seen just before, during and after the shows.
An early foray was into the short-lived Ant and Dec vehicle Red or Black quiz show and the Jackpotjoy site even had a number of instant games and slots themed around the show for players to try.
Later came sponsorship of Million Pound Drop with Davina McCall, Deal or No Deal and, most recently, the very popular afternoon show Tipping Point with Ben Shepherd.
2016 – The Queen’s new outfit
Another new development for 2016 is the evolution of the Queen of Bingo costume worn by Barbara Windsor. The original dress that has remained in use for the last six years was an extravagant creation with lots of beading and braiding, a tiara decorated with miniature bingo balls and a huge hooped skirt that clearly made moving around a huge exercise.
This has now given way to a much simpler, fitted design with a fishtail hemline that will clearly make appearances and performances required a much more straightforward affair.
The new videos that appeared towards the end of 2016 have been designed more to be viewed online rather than being specific TV adverts. The clampdown by watchdogs on mentioning welcome offers pre 9pm and having to focus on general things the sites have to offer during the daytime – the traditional heartland of online bingo advertising – is making all the bingo operators think twice about investing huge sums and looking instead to alternative channels.
The face of daytime TV may never be the same again and we will miss the presence of the Jackpotjoy Queen of Bingo.