An ad for World Lottery Club seen in the complainant’s Facebook newsfeed on 14 June 2017, stated “How about never working again or starting an empire! Spend it your own way, you’d be one of the UK’s wealthiest lottery winners”. This was accompanied by a picture with a red bar that stated “BREAKING NEWS”. Further text stated “BREAKING: UK’s BIGGEST lottery draw of £349 MILLION set for TONIGHT”. The ad linked through to an article describing World Lottery Club, a lottery betting product.
The complainant challenged whether the ad did not make clear its commercial intent.
Annexio Ltd stated that it was not their intention to deceive in any way. They said they had stopped using such marketing communications on Facebook. They believed that the post was taken out of context, because they always labelled ads on Facebook as “sponsored”.
The CAP Code required advertisers to ensure that their marketing communications were obviously identifiable as such, and that they made clear their commercial intent, if that was not obvious from the context. The ASA noted that the ad seen by the complainant featured an image of a man being interviewed by a reporter, with “BREAKING NEWS” imposed on it in a style reminiscent of that used by some TV news channels. There was no information stating that it was an ad. We considered that the post gave the impression that it would link to editorial content regarding a lottery draw. We concluded that the Facebook post was not obviously identifiable as a marketing communication and did not make its commercial intent immediately clear.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 2.1 2.1 Marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such. and 2.3 2.3 Marketing communications must not falsely claim or imply that the marketer is acting as a consumer or for purposes outside its trade, business, craft or profession; marketing communications must make clear their commercial intent, if that is not obvious from the context. (Recognition of marketing communications)
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Annexio Ltd to ensure their future ads were identifiable as such, and made their commercial intent clear.