ASA Adjudication on Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Ltd
Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Ltd t/a
9 March 2011
Internet (website content)
Number of complaints:
An online promotion for Sing Bingo was headed "DEBT FREE 2011!" It stated "How do you fancy having your bills paid in 2011? Sing is prepared to do just that for one lucky player in our new 2011 Debt Free Heaven promo ... No more stress, no more worries and no more running away from the morning postman!" Terms and conditions stated "Bills paid for a year is equivalent to £200 a month given over the year. Total of £2, 400 ... Cards cost 1p - Minimum is 1 card, maximum is 96 cards".
The complainant challenged whether the promotion:
1. was irresponsible, because it encouraged readers to gamble in order to become "Debt Free"; and
2. was misleading, because the prize was unlikely to cover the debts of an average person.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Ltd said that it was not their intention to mislead and they pointed out that terms and conditions on the page explained, "bills paid for a year is equivalent to £200 a month over the year. Total of £2,400". They acknowledged that the promotion could be in breach of the Code by advertising gambling as a solution to financial concerns. They assured us that the promotion had been amended and all references to debt removed.
The ASA was concerned that the general impression created by the ad was that gambling represented a possible solution to financial concerns and debt. We noted the promotion stated "No more stress, no more worries and no more running away from the morning postman!" and considered that this targeted vulnerable consumers who were in serious financial difficulty. We concluded that the promotion was a breach of the Code because it represented gambling as a solution to financial concerns.
On this point the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Social responsibility), and 16.1, 16.3.1, 16.3.2 and 16.3.4 (Gambling).
We considered that the average consumer would infer from the title "DEBT FREE 2011!" and the text "How do you fancy having your bills paid in 2011?" that if they won the promotion they would have all their bills paid in 2011. However, we considered that the actual value of the prize was unlikely to cover all the average person's bills over a year. Although we noted the value of the prize was made clear via a link to the terms and conditions at the bottom of the page, because we considered that this was a significant condition that might affect a consumers decision to enter the promotion, we considered that it should have been included in the main body of the promotion. Because it was not, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
On this point the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).
The promotion must not appear again in its current form. We told Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Ltd to ensure that future promotions for gambling services did not imply gambling was a solution to financial concerns.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)