GambleAware brings the voice in your head to life in vivid debut campaign

18 Feet & Rising has created the first ever ad campaign for problem gambling charity GambleAware.

The campaign, "Voices", is aimed at men and women aged 15-24, who were identified as the age group most at risk for problem gambling in recent data from the Gambling Commission.

There are two executions, Online and Machine, featuring a young woman and man respectively.

Each takes the idea of the "voice in your head" – the repetitive, intrusive thoughts that can lead people to compulsively gamble – and depicts this as a malevolent man standing in the room, using emotionally manipulative language to encourage the protagonist to gamble.

The campaign launches in cinemas tonight, with the spots shown before T2: Trainspotting. This will be followed by a regional online launch later this month targeting the north east and north west.

GambleAware said an objective of the campaign was to redress the balance between the volume of gambling ads in the UK and social responsibility messaging.

Dr Jane Rigbye, director of commissioning (treatment and harm-minimisation) at GambleAware, said: "Our research shows us that young people are at particular risk of developing problems with controlling their gambling behaviour, making raising awareness of what constitutes problem gambling critical.

"18 Feet & Rising have worked with us to create this powerful ad that we hope will reach young people at that crossroads and prompt them to seek help before their gambling habits become problematic."

The ad was created by Will Thacker and Louis Jopling for 18 Feet & Rising, and directed by Tom Tagholm for Park Pictures. The media agency is Goodstuff Communications.

Thacker, a creative director, said: "With our media channels saturated with gambling ads and new ways to bet, our aim was to create a campaign that did not feel like a traditional advert.

"The content we created aimed to cut through the clutter, encouraging people to question a behavior that, for most, has become normal."