A paid-for Facebook post by Gala Spins, seen on 12 August 2020, included a caption which stated “IT’S A ROLLERCOASTER OF CUTENESS!”. The post included a video which began with a voice-over that stated “What’s your spin?”. The video included text that stated “GALA Spins” and “What’s your spin?” following which the video showed text which stated “Fluffy Favourites” and five toy animals.
IssueThe complainant challenged whether the content of the ad was likely to be of particular appeal to children.
LC International Ltd t/a Gala Spins said the ad was posted on their Facebook account which was age-gated to those who were over 18 years old. They said that age restriction would immediately prevent those who were underage from viewing and accessing the Gala Spins page. Gala Spins said they posted the video featuring stuffed animals in error and that it was an out-of-date video. They said that the stuffed toys featured in the eight-second video appeared between seconds four and six; viewers would have had to press play for the video to run.
Gala Spins said the video was part of a multi-channel campaign targeting females in the UK aged between 18 and 65 with an interest in gambling and online gaming. They provided analytics of the campaign which they said showed that none of those who saw the ad were under 18 years old and all were women. They said the ad had since been taken down on all channels.
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 strongly to under-18s than they did to over-18s. The ASA understood that the ad was not seen in an age-gated environment and outside of that environment Gala Spins had taken steps to target the ad only at those between 18 and 65 years of age. However, we understood that targeting of the ad was based on an audience which had self-reported their age and where there were otherwise no prohibitions on under-18s. Therefore, the steps taken could not ensure that under-18s, who falsely reported their age, were not exposed to the ad. We therefore considered whether it complied with the Code’s requirement that gambling ads must not be of particular appeal to children.
We considered that the cartoon-like imagery of five stuffed toy animals was likely to appeal to under-18s. We considered the game’s name “Fluffy Favourites”, and the ad’s caption “IT’S A ROLLERCOASTER OF CUTENESS!”, were likely to strengthen that appeal. We considered that those factors combined to give the ad a child-like theme. For those reasons, we considered that the ad was likely to be of particular appeal to under-18s, and therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible 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 its current form. We told LC International Ltd t/a Gala Spins to ensure in future that their ads for gambling products did not appeal particularly to under 18s.