London-listed advertising agency M&C Saatchi has been appointed to develop a new advertising campaign for GambleAware, the charitable body tasked with tackling gambling addiction in the UK.

GambleAware was selected to deliver the campaign by broadcasters and gambling industry groups, which were responsible for devising the initial plans.

The campaign, focused on responsible gambling, will run for two years, supported by an annual budget of up to £7m.

M&C Saatchi was selected by GambleAware following a competitive procurement process and will work closely with a board comprised of representatives of Public Health England, the Welsh Government's public health community and academic experts.

GambleAware said that it chose M&C Saatchi for the quality of its pitch, the ability to adhere to the brief and the expertise of its team. 

"GambleAware is committed to reducing harms associated with gambling and to taking a public health approach," said Professor Sian Griffiths, Public Health England's interim chair and Safer Gambling Campaign Board chair.

"Advertising is an important part of raising awareness and we hope the campaign will play its role, in collaboration with other sectors of society."

M&C Saatchi chief executive Giles Hedger added: "We are delighted to be playing our part in the creation of a more mindful gambling culture in the UK. This is a new and important chapter in the ongoing balancing of market freedoms and public health."

An advisory panel will support the agency and board by gathering input from gambling addiction treatment providers, relevant charities, faith groups, sporting bodies and the gambling industry, as well as gambling addicts.

M&C Saatchi will also work alongside GambleAware's existing communications agency Atlas Partners, which will devise and deliver a public relations strategy to support the ad campaign.