A TV ad for Sky Bet, seen on 30 August 2018, promoting their Request a Bet service. The football presenter Jeff Stelling said, Forget 'anything can happen', in sport anything does happen. But could it be better? With Request a Bet it could. Spark your
sports brain and roll all the possibilities into one bet. Three red cards, seven corners, five goals: lets price that up. Or browse hundreds of request a bets on our app. The possibilities are humongous. How big is your sports noggin? Sky Bet, Britain's
most popular online bookmaker. When the fun stops, stop. A large screen behind the presenter featured various odds and statistics as well as a graphic of brain waves emanating from his head. Issue
Two complainants, who believed it
implied that those with a good knowledge of sports were likely to experience gambling success, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible.
ASA Assessment: Complaints upheldd
The ad contained a number of
references to the role of sports knowledge in betting, such as spark your sports brain and how big is your sports noggin. It also included a well-known sports presenter, who viewers would recognise as having a particular expertise in sports, and
on-screen graphics used to depict brain waves and various odds. The ASA considered that, taking all those elements into account, the ad placed strong emphasis on the role of sports knowledge in determining betting success. We acknowledged it was the case
that those with knowledge of a particular sport may be more likely to experience success when betting. However, we considered that the ad gave an erroneous perception of the extent of a gambler's control over betting success, by placing undue emphasis on
the role of sports knowledge. We considered that this gave consumers an unrealistic and exaggerated perception of the level of control they would have over the outcome of a bet and that could lead to irresponsible gambling behaviour. We therefore
concluded that the ad breached the Code.
The ad must not be broadcast again in the form complained of. We told Bonne Terre t/a Sky Bet to ensure in future that their ads did not condone or encourage gambling behaviour that was
socially irresponsible, for example by creating an unrealistic perception of the level of control consumers would have over betting success.
ASA's rule writing arm CAP has published new standards to restrict gambling ads from being seen by under 18s.
This follows a review of the evidence on advertising's impact on under-18s and rulings by the Advertising Standards
Authority. The last review was carried out in 2014.
The evidence suggests that exposure to gambling ads that comply with the UK's Advertising Codes is, of itself, unlikely to harm under-18s. Targeted restrictions are still
required, however, to address the potential risks associated with irresponsible advertising. While the advertising rules don't need to change, we have introduced new standards to strengthen how they apply in practice.
prohibit online ads for gambling products being targeted at groups of individuals who are likely to be under 18 based on data about their online interests and browsing behaviour;
unacceptable types of content, including certain types of animated characters, licensed characters from movies or TV and sportspeople and celebrities that are likely to be of particular appeal to children, and references to youth culture; and
prohibit the use in gambling ads of sportspersons, celebrities or other characters who are or appear to be under 25; and
adds to existing guidance on the responsible targeting of ads, covering all media
(including social networks and other online platforms)
In particular, the standards provide examples of scenarios to help advertisers understand what they need to do to target ads away from under-18s. For example:
Social media -- gambling operators must use
all the tools available to them on a social network platform to prevent targeting their ads at under-18s. This includes both ad targeting facilities provided directly by the platform based, on their platform users' interests and browsing behaviour, and
tools that restrict under-18s' access to marketers' own social media content.
Parts of websites for under-18s -- gambling operators should take particular care to avoid placing their ads on parts of websites of particular
appeal to under-18s. For example, a football club's website might have a strongly adult audience in general, but it would be inappropriate to place gambling ads in pages dedicated to younger supporters.
Social and online gaming
-- gambling-like games or games that feature elements of simulated gambling activity are often popular with children and young people. Such games should not be used to promote real-money gambling products. Where social and online games feature
marketing communications for gambling games, they should not be directed at under-18s.
Influencers -- gambling operators should take particular care when identifying influencers to promote their products or brands. They
should take into account the influencer's likely appeal and obtain audience data (for instance, the age-breakdown of a follower or subscriber-base) to ensure that under-18s are not likely to comprise more than 25% of the audience.
Affiliates -- responsibility lies with gambling operators to ensure that affiliates or other third parties acting on their behalf to publish or disseminate ads that comply with the advertising rules.
The UK advert censor ASA does not have powers to enforce its own decisions but in some cases where it identifies illegality or fraudulent claims etc it can call on other agencies, such as Trading Standards to take action.
Surrey Trading Standards has just been appointed by National Trading Standards to act as the legal backstop of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The move means that the ASA will refer businesses and individuals who continue to break the rules on
misleading advertising to B&STS, which can apply a range of legal enforcement powers to bring them into line.
ASA Chief Executive Guy Parker commented:
We're delighted to establish this new working
relationship with Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards. They are fully committed to our partnership and acting on our referrals to bring problem advertisers into line.
The backstop power has transferred to Buckinghamshire and
Surrey following changes to Regulatory Services at Camden Trading Standards, who previously fulfilled the role.
Presumably Trading Standards will have no role in enforcing ASA prohibitions that are made on grounds of political correctness or the
likes of claims of widespread offence.
A product listing for clothing and lifestyle shop Olanstar, which appeared on www.amazon.co.uk, seen on 14 November 2018. Text at the top of the ad stated Olanstar School Girl Costume Halloween Cosplay Uniform Classic Pleated Mini Skirt with
Bow-knot. Beneath that a sub-heading stated See more on the Sex and Sensuality store. The ad included seven photos of a female model wearing a school girl costume. The model was shown in a variety of poses which included her knelt on both knees, to
laying on her back, to bending over with the camera pointed from behind her. Description of the item further down the page stated Pure student dress up, this sexy schoolgirl outfit lights your passion at night, inspires both infinite imagination of
A complainant challenged whether the ad breached the Code by portraying someone who appeared to be under 18 years of age in a sexual way. Assessment
ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld
The ASA was concerned by Olanstar's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code.
We considered that all of the photos in the ad were to some extent sexual in nature. In particular, we noted that one
photo, in which the model was photographed from above while she was lying down with her legs crossed from right to left, revealed her bare inner thigh; another photo showed the model kneeling barefoot on a sofa and biting her finger alongside the caption
SEXY APPEAL. All other photos showed the model either on her knees or bent over which we considered drew attention to her body in a sexually suggestive manner.
The advertiser had not responded to the complaint and we therefore did
not have any information about whether the model was aged 18 years or over. However, we considered that the model seemed petite, with smooth skin and very little make-up which made her appear to be under the age of 18.
reasons we considered that the ad depicted a person who appeared to be under the age of 18 in a sexual way and was therefore in breach of the Code.
The ad must not appear in its current form. We told Olanstar Technology Co Ltd t/a
Olanstar to ensure future ads did not include images that portrayed or represented anyone who was, or seemed to be, under 18 in a sexual manner. We referred the matter to the CAP compliance team.
A poster for Go Vilnius, a development agency for Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, seen on 10 August 2018, stated in red text Nobody knows where it is, but when they find it - it's amazing. VILNIUS THE G-SPOT OF EUROPE. The ad featured an image of
a woman, visible from the upper part of her face. The woman was lying on material printed with a map of Europe, with her hair splayed out behind her head. Her eyes were closed and she had one arm raised above her head, gripping the material in her hand
at the point on the map where Vilnius was located. Issue
A complainant, who believed the ad was overtly sexual and the image of the woman was unrelated to the product, challenged whether the ad was offensive.
ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld
The ASA considered that the ad was risqu39 and sexually suggestive in tone, due to the reference to VILNIUS THE G-SPOT OF EUROPE, and the image of the woman gripping the map
with her eyes closed. However, we considered the ad portrayed that suggestiveness in a light-hearted and humorous way, for example through the statement Nobody knows where it is, but when they find it - it's amazing, and because the woman appeared in a
surreal and unrealistic scenario, indicating the location of Vilnius on the map of Europe. We considered the ad did not contain anything which pointed to an exploitative or degrading scenario or tone.
While we acknowledged that
some might find the ad distasteful, we considered, for the above reasons, the ad did not objectify the female character and we concluded it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.