Tom Waterhouse retracts but has the damage to his brand already been done?


Just a week after I last wrote about The Rise and Potential Fall of the Tom Waterhouse Brand, Tom publicly apologised for excessive use of advertising. In the same breath that he apologised he justified the former over use of his advertising campaigns because of the need to keep up with overseas players in the market and that competition is good for punters. He went on to say “Because I stand up as the bookmaker, and do not present as a faceless corporation, I also have, somehow, become the public face of the entire Australian gambling industry.” An obviously intelligent young man, it’s surprising that Tom didn’t see this coming.

In the same letter to the Daily Telegraph he went on to say, “However the public has spoken and you will see less of me on TV. I have listened.”

But I am still left wondering if Tom has missed the point. He has promised to dramatically reduce his advertising on TV by 20%. However hasn’t the damage already been done? Does it really matter now whether we see his TVC ten times in one night or eight? For anyone that is already irritated by him and his brand you only need to see it once or even twice to feel annoyed. Perhaps it’s time for Tom to consider a completely new campaign, one in which doesn’t use him so prominently. I think we can all agree that the brand is established and that we know exactly who Tom Waterhouse is and what his brand is about. It would be interesting to see how a change in advertising tactics could alter the public’s opinion of the brand and in turn of Tom. Using less of Tom, and bringing another dimension to the brand could really shift the perception. The brand name is still entrenched in the industry, so there would be no loss of equity there. But I wouldn’t be surprised if this is something we never see.

Sandy Muir
Director of Brand Projects
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