ASA Ban Ladbrokes Advert

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have been receiving complaints about gambling related adverts. This time, they have banned a Ladbrokes TV advert that was considered to be “socially irresponsible.”

The advert was shown on April 10 of this year and started with a voiceover. It said: “I’m a nodder: up to the football, down to the app like a dog on a dashboard.” Surprisingly it wasn’t the standard of the voiceover that received the most criticism.

Then we got to see a gambler who had a rather frustrated look on his face. He and others were sitting nervously as they were awaiting to see if the latest be they had placed had been a winner or not. Let’s hope they hadn’t put a bet on Sheffield United.

A complaint was made about the advert, and it has been upheld by the ASA. The complaint was that this Ladbrokes advert promoted problem gambling. Why would a bookmaker want to do that? The ASA ruling said that “The Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP) Code states ads must not portray, condone or encourage gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm.”

The CAP Code lays down that if an advert displays “problem gambling behaviours or other behavioural indicators linked to problem gambling” then this would likely see the code being breached.
Not surprisingly, Ladbrokes aren’t too happy with the decision to ban their advert. Their view is that the now banned advert simply portrayed people watching a football game and reacting “in the way a football fan might.”

The ASA came to the decision that the scenes in the advert plus the voiceovers showed individuals who were “engrossed in betting.” How surprising to see that in a gambling related advert? They accepted that this was supposed to be a light-hearted way of looking at the subject. However, their overall view was that is showed people who were “detached” from their surroundings and their focus was on gambling not watching sports.”

They added: “Marketers should take care to avoid an implication of such behaviours; for instance, with outwardly light-hearted or humorous approaches that could be regarded as portrayals of those behaviours.” But there have been many adverts that show people watching a match and following the bet they have placed.

Have the ASA ever seen how people react when they are following a bet? There’s a distinct difference between someone who has a bet on a game and another who does have a problem and is most likely worried because they have placed a bet they can’t afford to lose.