Millennials are being drawn to bingo thanks to new novelty nights that mix the traditional game with raves and other escapades.
Bingo has traditionally been a game for the older generation, and despite glitzy advertising campaigns on television, radio, and online, millennials have not been enticed to head down to the local bingo hall. However, a combination strobe lights, rave music, and a clever social media campaign has started to introduce a whole new generation to the game.
In 2015, Jonny Bongo and business partner Josh Burke created Bongo’s Bingo, a night of raving bingo complete with debauchery, dance-offs, thumping bass, confetti cannons, and Coco Pops. Now entering its third year, the event has spread from its humble beginnings in Liverpool, to become a sell-out attraction in cities up and down the UK.
The idea seems simple enough, with hundreds of people whooping and raving on the tables, enjoying the thumping europop sounds of the Vengaboys, while male strippers in wigs spray them with Coco Pops. And then, like a massive game of musical chairs, when the music stops the crowd jumps back down into their seats, pick up their pens, and get ready to mark down the numbers called out form the stage by DJ Jonny Bongo.
The role of Bongo should not be underplayed in the huge success of the night, with his boundless energy entertaining the crowd and often cited as a major draw by returning players. The debauchery from the stage as well as the surprise celebrity appearances from the likes of Boyzlife, 5ive, and Mr Blobby offering revellers the perfect opportunity snap photos of their fun and post the results to Instagram and Snapchat. The bingo offers prizes from £1,000 in cash to stuffed unicorns. it is social media that has helped Bongo’s Bingo become a viral sensation, with the lights, colours, and huge smiles from the crowd in the photos working as perfect marketing materials for the brand.
Jonny Bongo’s night looks nothing like the bingo halls of old, and plays on the millennials’ desire to find unique experiences for their nights out, where there is more on offer than a couple of pints and catching up with friends, whose stories you have already seen on social media. When you are explaining to the Financial Times about global expansion plans to take the night to Paris, Sydney, and Dubia, you know you have found the zeitgeist.