Fans of action movies over the past two decades or so will be familiar with the work of Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, and thus it will come as no surprise to them to learn that despite being 60 years old, the martial arts expert is still going strong, and is still in perfect physical shape, which would put many younger actors to shame.
Of course, it has been many years since Van Damme was a martial artist, having been active from 1976 to 1982, but his background in martial arts is what led to him being a successful action movie star as well. He has almost exclusively played roles in only these kinds of movies, with the most notable ones being Lionheart (1990), Universal Soldier (1992), Universal Soldier: The Return (1999), Street Fighter (1994) and Maximum Risk (1996), among many others. He is also known for the satirical TV show Jean-Claude Van Johnson, which ran for a single season in 2016. Despite having turned down a role in the first Expendables movie, he starred as one of the villains in Expendables 2 as well. His dramatic acting credits include the movies Wake of Death (2004), Legionnaire (1998), JCVD (2008) and The Bouncer (2018). This shows that the Belgian did not just appear in one type of role in his career, and he is easily one of the most famous Belgian actors of all time, having cracked Hollywood and become a recognizable name there.
Van Damme also famously appeared in an advertisement for the Swedish company Volvo, where he does the splits while perched between two Volvo trucks which are being driven backwards, with his feet on the outer rearview mirrors of either truck. This video, which aimed to show the stability and precision of Volvo’s steering systems on its trucks, quickly went viral when it was released on YouTube in 2013, and this ‘epic split’, as Van Damme called it in the video, has now garnered over 100 million views on YouTube. This is not the first time that Van Damme has partnered with a brand for advertising purposes.
He has also recently agreed a deal to star in an online advertising campaign for a famous Belgian gambling brand. He has previously partnered with this online casino in the past, with their previous campaign generating more than 13 million views on YouTube. This is in keeping with the general trend where many brands try to associate themselves with a celebrity for a marketing campaign, to take advantage of their popularity. This is now being seen in the world of online casinos and gambling brands, especially as these activities begin to be legalized worldwide. Many online casinos, which are newcomers, are building their brands and reputations through such campaigns, and moreover, their offering of good casino campaigns, means that these campaigns are hitting the mark and attracting new customers.
The upcoming campaign will see Van Damme show some iconic action movie poses of his while talking about responsible gambling, and will also be telecast on TV in Belgium, in addition to being posted on YouTube. Other gambling brands have also used celebrity endorsements in the past, from the likes of former UFC champion Conor McGregor to boxing legend Mike Tyson, while NBA great Michael Jordan recently signed a deal with DraftKings earlier this year as well to provide advice to the fantasy sports and betting operator in the USA. Clearly, bringing celebrities on board, whether for marketing campaigns or for boardroom roles where their expertise can be used, is proving to be an emerging tactic in the gambling space.