tombola’s Television Timeline

We love change here at tombola: new players, new games, and even exciting new television adverts. That’s right, John Lewis isn’t the only one taking the plunge with a new ad … team tombola is too!

To continue our tradition of inviting real-life tombola players to star in our adverts, our newest offering will bring together our favourite people (that’s you lot!) and showcase our best bingo games – after all, our games are exclusively available on tombola bingo, so it’s something else we feel we should be shouting about!

It isn’t long until our new television campaign launches. In the meantime, we are celebrating with a nostalgia trip: a look back to some of our adverts from years gone by.

2008: Where the fun goes on and on

We burst onto the nation’s screens with this 2008 ad. It featured bingo balls having a thoroughly good time at the fair! The advert featured a Spanish track conveniently called ‘tombola’ and Denise Van Outen did the voice over.

2009: ‘Hola tombola!’

The next campaign had a touch of comedy and a catchy tagline, to help achieve our aim pf bringing tombola bingo to a wider audience. After we entered into an exciting new partnership, however, we decided upon a change of direction…

2010: Real life laughs

“At this time we got the sponsorship deal through for Emmerdale,” says our Head of Marketing, Dawn Howe, “And our previous advert just didn’t fit with Emmerdale. We wanted to create a scene that was reflective of the community village feel of the programme, and really wanted our players to star in it. These ads became a big deal for tombola and our players.”

They did indeed! We created ”bumper” ads to top and tail Emmerdale’s ad breaks, all starring a cast of real-life tombola players having a whale of a time on an all-expenses paid trip:

“It’s like a mini tombola holiday. The players get to have loads of fun and meet other tombola players. It’s amazing – they genuinely do forget that the cameras are there.”

For filming, we took our all-star cast to some of our favourite British destinations including Camber Sands, where players like nat84 had hours of fun riding horses along the beach. Other activities included hot air balloon rides, pizza making, cake baking and zipwire rides. Many of the players forged firm friendships they still have to this day!

2011: Our big TV break

2011 was a big year for us here at tombola: in addition to our Emmerdale bumpers, we created a fresh set of television advertisements.

We edited the first season of Emmerdale bumpers to create the ads, which featured elliejojo1 at a Victorian funfair, xmissnataleex ten pin bowling, and Ken4u007 partaking in a dance class, among a host of other outings!

2012: A new set of stars

By 2012, our adverts with tombola players were as distinctive as ever, so we decided to continue the theme with a new set of stars! We did a casting call for tombola players via our website, then held auditions. Our creative director chose the players who were most at home in front of the camera.

“If you are relaxed in front of the camera, and aren’t looking at the camera,” says Dawn, “then you were more likely to be chosen. When you are very conscious of the cameras directed at you, then it never looks as natural.”

Once we had our stars, we took them on a brand new set of road trips:

“The initial idea was to film in East Sussex for the first series [of indents]. We remain fond of Camber Sands, which is a famous beach for shoots. But we also filmed in Rye, which is a really beautiful, quaint English town. Then when we filmed the next set we wanted something that was dramatically different, so we picked Cornwall. The brief is really to find somewhere that is different to the previous series, so that when the new ads come out, it’s obviously something new. As you can see from this example with michy-one, the shoot was full on! ”

The scenery in the final ads looked great, and we particularly liked the final flourish: each tombola player’s username appeared on screen. If you spot them in one of our chat rooms, don’t be afraid to say hi!

2013: ‘Appy days!

With the launch of our popular app in 2013, we decided to give our creative muscles a little more exercise. Enter flying poker chips and bingo balls, along with a smartphone that spread out into a deck of cards.

It was quite a departure from our earlier adverts, but one that had been coming for a while, as Dawn explains:

“Our games are unique and you can only play them on tombola; a big reason why people stay at tombola bingo is because our games are brilliant, so not to include them [in the adverts] would have been a missed chance. When we launched on mobile and with a bingo app, we felt this was the right time to focus on the clear message that you can play on your laptop, computer, mobile or tablet – at home or on the go!”

2014: Pulse

This summer we launched an exciting new game and with it, an exciting new ad! We are, of course, talking about our fast-paced bingo game, Pulse. Rather than focusing completely on tombola players, this ad launched Pulse in a way that highlighted all that innovative game’s slick, quickfire glory.

2014: The whole package

From focusing on our players to showcasing our great games in all their glory, our adverts have taken players (and us) on quite a journey – in some cases, literally! We are delighted to announce that our newest TV offering will bring everything together in one fantastic package: professional actors, real tombola players and our innovative games.

“Within this new TV ad we feel we’ve ticked every single box for the first time,” says Dawn. “We are showing the game as the hero, we are showing that our players are really important to us and I’m really happy with how it’s developing, and hope our players like it when it comes on air.”

The ad will air for the first time in December, so watch this space… Or better still, seize the chance to become one of its stars!

Feature image credit: Ángel Raúl Ravelo Rodríguez /

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