ASA Adjudication on Partouche Betting Ltd
Partouche Betting Ltd t/a
8 October 2008
Number of complaints:
An Internet banner ad, for the online gambling site Partouche Betting, showed a flag that stated "BET TO FORGET"; the text "CLICK OR REGRET" then appeared. Another version of the ad showed exactly the same flag and text but also included a photograph of the footballer Eric Cantona, who seemed to be dressed as a knight.
1. The complainant thought the ad was irresponsible, because it exploited the susceptibilities of vulnerable people by suggesting that gambling could provide an escape from personal problems.
2. The ASA challenged whether the claim "CLICK OR REGRET" suggested that gambling was indispensable.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
1. Partouche Betting said the campaign was based on the irony of enticing people in England to bet on the Euro 2008 championships despite the fact that England had not qualified for the final phase. The ad was intended to be taken in the light-hearted context of asking people to forget their disappointment that England had not qualified, not to forget lifes difficulties or personal problems. They said the ad featured the football star Eric Cantona dressed as King Arthur and linked through to a website that showed various King Eric films, including one where Eric Cantona pronounced " ... Europe kicked you out of the Euro, who cares? BET to be king ... BET until the very last second ... BET to forget ...". They explained that the ad was used only during the Euro 2008 competition and then removed, although they thought a few banner ads might still be appearing on the Internet.
Partouche Betting acknowledged that, in May 2008, the CAP Copy Advice team advised their agency against using the claim "BET TO FORGET", because it might suggest that gambling could provide an escape from personal problems. However, they decided not to follow that advice, because they thought even vulnerable people would be able to distinguish between a joke about England not qualifying for Euro 2008 and a statement that betting was the solution to their problems.
2. Partouche Betting said the CAP Copy Advice team had also advised their agency against using the claim "BET OR REGRET", because it could portray gambling as indispensable or as taking priority in life. Partouche Betting said they followed that advice and instead used the claim "CLICK OR REGRET", which they considered was different because it was merely an enticement to visit their website. They said betting was not the only thing their website had to offer and most consumers who visited clicked through to view the King Eric films.
The ASA noted one version of the ad featured Eric Cantona dressed as King Arthur and the other did not. We considered it might not be clear to everyone who saw the ad that the man in costume was Eric Cantona or that he was supposed to be King Arthur. Moreover, we considered none of the versions of the ad implicitly or explicitly explained the link between the claim "BET TO FORGET" and Englands failure to qualify for the Euro 2008 championships. We therefore considered Partouche Betting could not rely on that link to defend the ads claim "BET TO FORGET".
We considered that the context of asking people to forget their disappointment that England had not qualified for Euro 2008 would not be clear to consumers initially viewing any version of the ad and the claim "BET TO FORGET" was therefore likely to be interpreted, particularly by vulnerable people, as suggesting that gambling could provide an escape from personal problems. We were therefore concerned that it could exploit them. We concluded that the ad was irresponsible and were concerned that Partouche Betting had ignored the advice from the Copy Advice team not to use the claim "BET TO FORGET".
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clauses 57.2, 57.4b and 57.4c (Gambling).
We noted Partouche Betting believed "CLICK OR REGRET" was a different claim from "BET OR REGRET" but considered that, in the context of an ad for betting, "CLICK OR REGRET" was likely to imply that consumers would have cause for regret if they did not click through to Partouche Bettings website to bet. We concluded that the claim breached the Code because it was likely to suggest that gambling was indispensable or that it took priority in life.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clauses 57.2 and 57.4e (Gambling).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Partouche Betting not to repeat the claims "BET TO FORGET" or "CLICK OR REGRET".
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)