A TV ad for an online bingo service started with a voice-over stating, "Winners win at Winner Bingo" and then showed a man walking to a living room where a woman was sitting on the sofa playing bingo on a tablet next to an owl on a perch. The man spoke to the owl and said, "Winner Bingo's got so many winners yet somehow, I've still got all my clothes on." The owl replied, "Your clothes are going to come off when someone wins aren't they?" The man looked directly into the camera and said, "YES! Yes they are." The woman on the sofa then shouted "BINGO" and the man removed his blazer. Moments later she shouted it again and he tore off all of his outer clothes revealing a pair of gold hot pants and the neck of his roll-neck jumper and said, "Oops". The woman looked in the man's direction, exhaled and stated, "Ooh" before smiling. The ad then cut to the man's head next to on-screen text. He stated, "Deposit £10 Get £60 to play with" and raised his eyebrows.
Two viewers challenged whether the ad linked gambling to seduction and sexual success.
PT Entertainment Services Ltd, t/a Winner Bingo, did not believe that the ad linked gambling to seduction and sexual success, and considered it was humorous rather than seductive or sexual in nature. They stated that the actor that played 'Mr Winner' had been cast for comedic timing and delivery rather than basic good looks, as they wished to avoid the image of a 'bronzed muscled beefcake' that could be construed as being linked to enhanced sexual attractiveness.
They believed the ad was a purposely designed, over the top, humorous entertainment parody, which was categorised by an eccentric lead performance, a stuffed talking owl and a sitcom style set, firmly setting the viewer in a world of humour and entertainment. They stated that, throughout the ad, Mr Winner communicated only directly with the stuffed talking owl and there was no direct communication, flirting or innuendo directly or implied between Mr Winner and the Winner Bingo customer. They therefore believed that, at no stage, was Mr Winner trying to seduce the Winner Bingo customer.
They considered that the act of removing clothes was nothing more than an eccentric way for the eccentric lead character to celebrate the latest successful winner at Winner Bingo. The removal of clothing was not designed for Mr Winner to appeal sexually to the Winner Bingo customer, but a demonstration to the owl of Mr Winner's excitement at yet another Winner Bingo winner.
Clearcast considered that the male character was clearly portrayed as a rather eccentric, silly and humorous figure rather than as a stereotypically sexy and seductive male stripper. They stated it was also apparent from the outset that the reason for removing his clothes was not to sexually excite the lead female character, but merely to celebrate the fact that another player had won on the Winner Bingo site. They felt that those themes were highlighted by the fact that, throughout the ad, the male character only directed his attention to a talking stuffed owl and did not talk to the female character, nor direct his attention to her when he was removing his clothes. The female character's approving glance in his direction towards the end of the ad was clearly not reciprocated by the male character, so they considered that that ruled out any possibility of seduction between the two of them.
They had felt that there was no suggestion that the advertisers were linking gaming with seduction and sexual success, given the over-the-top nature of the ad, the humorous setting and the eccentric characters, and had approved the ad accordingly.
The ASA considered that the premise of the ad was surreal and comedic, featuring a conversation between an eccentric man and a talking owl with a deadpan delivery. The ad established from the outset that the main character intended to remove his clothes to celebrate any winners at Winner Bingo, and did not appear to be seeking to seduce or attract by doing so. Although we acknowledged that the female winner looked happy at the end of the ad, after the man had removed his clothes, we did not consider that scene would be interpreted by viewers to represent one of seduction or sexual success through strong flirtation or stripping, particularly in the context of a surreal and tongue-in-cheek scenario. In light of the humorous and surreal tone of the ad, we did not consider that the ad linked gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness and concluded that the ad was not in breach of the Code.
No further action necessary.