A banner ad for Monopoly Casino, seen 7 February 2019 on the Mirror Online website, featured an image of the character ‘Mr Monopoly’ and text which stated “Monopoly Casino”, “SUPER MONOPOLY MONEY” and “PLAY NOW”.
The complainant challenged whether the ad was likely to be of particular appeal to children.
Entertaining Play t/a Monopoly Casino did not believe the Mr Monopoly character was of particular appeal to children. They outlined that the character was depicted as shown since the inception of the Monopoly brand, with the character shown in traditional, adult attire. Monopoly Casino said that the character did not possess exaggerated features and did not mimic any style of cartoon character seen in current children’s programming. The characterisation of Mr Monopoly as a traditionally dressed older gentleman was a conscious decision in recognition of the character’s universal appeal. In relation to the ad’s background, Monopoly Casino said that the colours used were not garish or overly vibrant and did not draw inspiration from youth culture.
Monopoly Casino highlighted that they had also taken actions to target the ad only to those aged over 18 years of age.
The Mirror Online also said that age targeting could be applied to the ad so that it was not targeted at children. They did not believe the ad had appeal to children and they said that the ad included a label which stated “18+”.
The CAP Code stated that gambling ads must not be likely to be of particular appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture. Gambling ads could not therefore appeal more to under-18s than they did to over-18s.
The ASA understood that Monopoly Casino had taken steps to target the ad only at those over 18 years of age. However, the steps taken could not ensure that under-18s were not exposed to the ad and we therefore considered whether it complied with the Code’s requirement that gambling ads must not be of particular appeal to children.
The ad’s branding referenced a regular edition of the board-game Monopoly, and included two red and white Monopoly logos. We considered that Monopoly was a family game generally played by or with children, and that under-18s would therefore recognise and find the ad’s references to it appealing. In addition, the ad featured a prominent image of the Mr Monopoly character which had exaggerated features reminiscent of a children’s cartoon, which meant the image would also be appealing to under-18s. Taking account of the ad as a whole, we considered that the use of the Monopoly logo and the depiction of the Mr Monopoly character meant that the ad was likely to appeal more to under-18s than to over-18s. We therefore concluded that the ad was of particular appeal to under-18s and breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 16.1 16.1 Marketing communications for gambling must be socially responsible, with particular regard to the need to protect children, young persons and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited. and 16.3.12 16.3.12 be likely to be of particular appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture (Gambling).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Entertaining Play Ltd t/a Monopoly Casino to ensure their ads for gambling products did not have particular appeal to those under18 years of age.