Ad description

A national press ad for an online gambling website, seen in The Sun on 15 October 2011, stated "MONEY-BACK IF SUAREZ SCORES. LIVERPOOL V MAN UTD. IF SUAREZ SCORES WE'LL REFUND LOSING BETS". The ad pictured football player Luiz Suarez in an action-style shot wearing a football shirt.

Issue

The complainant objected that the ad was socially irresponsible because it featured prominently Luiz Suarez, who was under 25.

Response

Paddy Power plc and News International Ltd said they did not believe the ad would have particular appeal to young or vulnerable people, or encourage young people to gamble, on the basis of Luiz Suarez's age or image. They confirmed that Suarez was 24 years old. They said they featured Suarez in the ad as he was the subject of the bet, and he was featured in his role as a professional footballer, rather than in connection with the act of gambling. They did not believe that featuring him in this way meant that he played a significant role in the ad. They believed there was a distinction between featuring someone under the age of 25, who was the subject of the bet and acting in their capacity as a sports person, and featuring a person under 25 promoting the act of gambling or betting.

Assessment

Upheld

The ASA noted that CAP Code rule  16.3.14 16.3.14 include a child or a young person. No-one who is, or seems to be, under 25 years old may be featured gambling or playing a significant role. No-one may behave in an adolescent, juvenile or loutish way.
Individuals who are, or seem to be under 25 years old (18-24 years old) may be featured playing a significant role only in marketing communications that appear in a place where a bet can be placed directly through a transactional facility, for instance, a gambling operator's own website. The individual may only be used to illustrate specific betting selections where that individual is the subject of the bet offered. The image or other depiction used must show them in the context of the bet and not in a gambling context.
 stated that ads for gambling services should not feature those under 25 years of age gambling or playing a significant role. We also noted that, at the time the ad appeared, Luiz Suarez was 24 years old. We noted Paddy Power believed ┬áthat because he was the subject of the bet, Suarez was not playing a significant role in relation to the act of gambling. However, we considered that because he was pictured individually and was the focus of the ad, he was likely to be seen by consumers to be playing a significant role. As a result, we concluded that the ad 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  16.3.14 16.3.14 include a child or a young person. No-one who is, or seems to be, under 25 years old may be featured gambling or playing a significant role. No-one may behave in an adolescent, juvenile or loutish way.
Individuals who are, or seem to be under 25 years old (18-24 years old) may be featured playing a significant role only in marketing communications that appear in a place where a bet can be placed directly through a transactional facility, for instance, a gambling operator's own website. The individual may only be used to illustrate specific betting selections where that individual is the subject of the bet offered. The image or other depiction used must show them in the context of the bet and not in a gambling context.
 (Gambling).

Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Paddy Power not to feature those who were under 25 years of age in their ads for gambling services if they were gambling or playing a significant role.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

16.1     16.3.14    


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