ASA Adjudication on Netplay TV Group Ltd
Netplay TV Group Ltd t/a
The Old Presbytery
30 May 2012
Number of complaints:
A TV ad for Supercasino.com, an online casino, opened with a shot of a casino chip in a man's hand. He was then shown walking down the street with a male friend and greeting an attractive female acquaintance outside the entrance to a building with a velvet-cordoned entrance. The man then flashed his casino chip at a doorman and entered, flanked by his friends. The group were shown walking through the casino to a roulette table. An attractive female joined the group behind the main character and he was then shown exchanging looks with another female. The ad concluded with the group standing round a roulette table. A voice-over stated, "Join our live spinners tonight and we'll give you £10 free. Supercasino.com. Feel it for real." The soundtrack included the lyrics "Everybody wanna be famous ... Reaching up for the stars, who could blame us ... Las Vegas, VIP status ... Everybody wanna be someone special."
The Gambling Reform & Society Perception Group (GRASP) and one member of the public challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and glamorised gambling.
Supercasino.com said the overall feel of the ad was intentionally upbeat and that they wished to show individuals gathering together to gamble in order to promote social gambling over solitary gambling. They said the main character showing his casino chip to gain entry to the building was an action synonymous with membership status for any type of club and did not therefore suggest that the character had any form of elevated status. They said the majority of those shown in the ad were clearly previous acquaintances and that, whilst the main character was seen to fleetingly look at another woman, that look was obviously in passing and not demonstrative of a requited or mutual attraction. They said the choice of music was governed simply by virtue of the suitability of the track to the visuals and fast-paced edit and that it was not intended to convey any message suggestive of gambling enhancing any personal qualities.
Clearcast said they had discussed and approved the script at pre-production and again when the final clocked version was submitted. Their opinion was that the ad showed stylish but normal friends on a night out at a casino. They said that the characters in the ad were over 25 years of age and that the ad did not show any flirting or sexual success. They said they did not believe that anything in the ad implied that the characters' personal qualities had been enhanced through gambling, as the characters entered the casino as a group of friends and the ad did not suggest that their self-image or self-esteem had been improved by the experience. They said there was nothing sexy or seductive about the characters' behaviour or dress. They accepted that the lyrics referenced people wanting to be famous but they believed that that was a widely held belief in society and not one normally associated with gambling. They did not feel that viewers watching the ad would be left with the impression that using the site would enhance their attractiveness, make them more successful sexually, or improve their self-esteem.
The ASA noted that Supercasino.com wished to show individuals gathering together to gamble instead of promoting solitary gambling and acknowledged that the majority of the characters in the ad already appeared to be acquainted. However, we considered that the main character in the ad appeared to be treated with admiration by the other characters, some of whom appeared to fall into step behind him forming the impression of an entourage. We also considered that the ad gave the impression that showing his casino chip secured entry to an exclusive club for the main character and his acquaintances, as the building had a velvet-cordoned entrance and smartly dressed doorman. We considered that the camera angle used to show the glance between the main character and the female he passed en route to the roulette table, created the impression of a meaningful look between two people who found each other attractive. We considered that the references to fame, being special and VIP status in the soundtrack, combined with the admiring way in which the main character was treated by the other characters, linked gambling with recognition, admiration and enhanced attractiveness, and we therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code.
The ad breached BCAP Code rules 17.3.6 (Gambling) and 17.3.7 (Gambling).
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.