Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, of which one was Not upheld and one was Upheld.
A TV ad for a gambling operator, Kwiff Ltd, seen on 2 December 2017 featured a voice-over that stated, “Bet on the Ashes with Kwiff and every time you do your odds might get Kwiffed. What does getting Kwiffed feel like? It feels like the end of a school day. The teacher says no homework tonight. But there was one thing I need you all to do. I need you to pop all these bubbles for me. Do you think you could do that? And that pretty much is what getting Kwiffed on the Ashes feels like”.
The ad featured scenes showing grown men dressed in a school uniform and in one particular shot showed a female teacher open a wooden chest which was followed by the men popping some bubble wrap.
1. Three complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it was likely to be of particular appeal to under-18s.
2. One complainant challenged whether the ad featured juvenile behaviour, which was prohibited in gambling ads under the BCAP Code.
1. & 2. In response to the complaint, Eaton Gate Gaming Ltd t/a Kwiff provided a copy of the brief their advertising agency had prepared for them.
The brief explained that the classroom scene would be heavily stylised as an old-fashioned, nostalgic scene reminiscent of schools in the 1950s and 1960s, leaning on the visual styling of old television shows. For comic purposes and to appeal to the comic sensibilities of an older audience, the school uniforms would be relics of a bygone era and deliberately unrealistic and unfashionable, with the older men literally bursting out of them in a scene incongruous with a modern relatable school setting. The brief further stated that whilst under-18s might recognise the scene as a classroom, the content of older men in old fashioned uniforms would be unlikely to be of particular appeal to today’s youth, but rather that an older audience, who would have attended school in the 1950s and 1960s, was much more likely to find it appealing.
The brief stated that within the deliberately old-fashioned context, the nostalgic reminiscence around the feeling of not having to do any homework when adult viewers were younger was a theme which was targeted at an older audience, rather than specifically associated with contemporary youth culture. Any references, icons or settings relatable to contemporary youth culture was not featured in the ad. Furthermore, the ad did not feature any animations or any recognisable characters to which under-18s might recognise.
The brief stated that the scene showing the older men stamping on, popping or playing with bubble wrap was universally appealing and relatable to audiences of all ages, and would not be of particular appeal to under-18s, even if they did relate to the enjoyment of popping bubble wrap.
Clearcast stated that they initially had concerns when the script was submitted. Those concerns were put to the agency, which responded providing the same information Kwiff had submitted in their response to the complaint.
Clearcast then considered whether the idea of stamping, jumping or rolling around on bubble wrap and equating that with the feeling one would get from being told “no homework at school” was likely to be of particular appeal to under-18s. The ASA’s rulings referred to in the agency’s response were also considered. Clearcast considered that the reference and the depiction of the school was unlikely to be seen as “youth culture”.
Clearcast stated that they agreed with the agency’s view that the action with the bubble wrap was likely to be of general rather than of particular appeal to those under-18s.
1. Not upheld
The BCAP Code stated that ads for gambling must not be likely to be of particular appeal to under-18s, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture. Gambling ads could not therefore appeal more strongly to under-18s than they did to over-18s, regardless of when they were broadcast.
The ASA noted that the ad was set in a school classroom and featured men dressed in school uniform. However, the classroom was stylised in an old-fashioned manner and included blackboards and single wooden desks for pupils. We considered that such an environment did not resemble modern day school classrooms and, consequently, did not reflect youth culture in that respect. Furthermore, the pupil characters in the ad were all grown men and did not feature any children.
Because of that, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to be of particular appeal to under-18s.
On that point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule
be likely to be of particular appeal to under-18s, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture
(Gambling), but did not find it in breach.
The voice-over in the ad stated “What does getting Kwiffed feel like? It feels like the end of a school day. The teacher says no homework tonight. But there was one thing I need you all to do. I need you to pop all these bubbles for me. Do you think you could do that?” The ad then showed the men’s reactions, who were excited in a childlike manner by the idea of popping bubble wrap. The ad then featured scenes of the men popping bubble wrap with great enjoyment.
We considered popping bubble wrap was mostly enjoyed by young children and therefore concluded that the scenes showing the men popping bubble wrap depicted juvenile behaviour, which was prohibited in gambling ads under the BCAP Code.
On that point the ad breached BCAP Code rule 17.4.6 17.4.6 feature anyone who is, or seems to be, under 25 years old gambling or playing a significant role. No-one may behave in an adolescent, juvenile or loutish way. (Gambling).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Kwiff that their future advertising must not feature juvenile behaviour.