A TV ad for the online casino 32Red.com featured a voice-over which began “Enjoy ‘Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway’ online slot game. Exclusively at 32red.com” and was followed by Ant McPartlin’s voice stating, “Welcome to ‘Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway’”. The voice-over continued, “Featuring ‘Ant versus Dec free spins’ and the amazing ‘Win the ads’ bonus feature” followed by Declan Donnelly saying “It’s time to play ‘Win the ads’”. The voice-over concluded, “Play online, on mobile and on tablet. Get £10 free when you join 32Red.com, where you’re the big deal”. The theme tune to Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway played in the background.
One complainant challenged whether the ad was irresponsible, because it linked gambling with the programme ‘Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway’ which was likely to be of particular appeal to under-18s.
32Red Ltd said that Saturday Night Takeaway was not targeted at under-18s; rather it had a wide audience profile and breadth of audience interest, and under-18s were under-represented as a proportion of the population in its audience. They provided audience data (BARB data) which showed that across 2017 and 2018 the average BARB index for the programme was around 90 and that no single episode had indexed over 120. A BARB index of over 120 would indicate that a programme was of particular appeal to under-18-year-olds.
32Red added that Ant and Dec were approaching middle age and presented a range of shows and that therefore they were not associated with, and did not reflect, youth culture.
Clearcast said the ad was based on a similar treatment which linked to the programme ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’ which also featured Ant and Dec as presenters. At the time of clearing that ad in 2015, Clearcast had assessed whether Ant and Dec would be considered to be of particular appeal to under-18s.
The careers of Ant and Dec had begun in children’s programmes when they were young in the early 1990s, and they had been involved in a variety of programmes since then. Saturday Night Takeaway, a Saturday night family variety show broadcast during primetime TV to a wide family audience, was first broadcast in 2002. Clearcast considered Ant and Dec had been popular with under-18s in the 1990s but now they were in their 40s they had become established TV comedy presenters with a more general appeal. Their audience had grown up with them and Clearcast therefore considered the programme did not have particular appeal to under-18s.
Rule 17.4.5 of the BCAP Code required that gambling ads must not be likely to be of particular appeal to under-18s, meaning that they must not appeal more strongly to under-18s than they did to over-18s. The ad in question was for an online slot game named after the TV programme Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, and featured Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly’s voices, the theme tune to the programme, and references to the programme’s ‘Win the Ads’ game.
The viewing figures of the TV show, taken from BARB data, showed that while many under-18s watched the TV show, it consistently produced an index score below 120, meaning that the TV show was never of proportionately greater appeal to under-18s than it was to the viewing population as a whole. We therefore considered that, notwithstanding any specific content in the ad that might appeal particularly to under-18s, references to the programme in a gambling ad in and of themselves were unlikely to breach the BCAP Code.
We considered that the specific elements taken from the TV programme in the two ads – the theme tune, the voice-overs from Ant and Dec, and the reference to the ‘Win the Ads’ game – were generic features of the programme, and were therefore unlikely to appeal more strongly to under-18s than to over-18s given the BARB data. We considered there was no other content in the ads which was likely to appeal more strongly to under-18s than to over-18s. For those reasons, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to be of particular appeal to under-18s.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule 17.4.5 (Gambling), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.