1. Paddy Power

a) The Ad

The TV ad ran by Paddy Power in February 2019 showed Rhodri Giggs in various scenes, including ordering champagne in a pub and driving off in a luxury new car. It contained several references to “loyalty”, with underlying tones and suggestions regarding the allegations that Ryan Giggs had an affair with Rhodri’s wife. Rhodri was then depicted saying "Problem is, loyalty gets you nowhere. Live for rewards instead. That's why I'm Paddy's Rewards Club Ambassador”. The issue was whether the ad was irresponsible by glamorising gambling and suggesting it was a way of achieving a good standard of living.

Paddy Power responded by arguing that only the car in which Rhodri drove away at the end of the ad could be considered special or glamourous. None of the activities shown involved gambling and there was no mention of betting at all. In the advert, Rhodri explained that he had been appointed as Brand Ambassador for Paddy Power and tapped the side of the car, implying that he had received the car because of his role as Brand Ambassador, and not as a result of gambling. Paddy Power stated that this was reinforced by the sticker on the back of the car that clearly read “Ambassador Car”.

b) ASA Decision

The ASA disagreed. They asserted that Rhodri being shown calling the bank to enquire about his bank balance, ordering champagne and driving off in a luxury car created the impression that Rhodri was reaping the rewards of his association with Paddy Power, both financially and in terms of his own self-image. The ad implied that viewers should follow his example and that their route to doing so was joining Paddy Power’s Rewards Club. It therefore considered that the ad implied that gambling was a way of achieving financial security and improved self-image. Consequently, the ad was deemed to be irresponsible and in breach of rules 1.2, 17.3.3 and 17.3.6 of the BCAP Code.

A link to the ASA ruling can be found here.

2. Tottenham Hotspur and William Hill

a) The Ad

Tottenham Hotspur tweeted a picture of their starting line-up for their game against Borussia Dortmund on 5 March 2019. The line-up included players Harry Winks and Davinson Sanchez alongside a William Hill logo and accompanying text that stated “Latest odds from @WilliamHill”, with a link to the William Hill website. The issue was whether the ad was irresponsible and breached the CAP Code because Winks and Sanchez were both under 25.

Tottenham Hotspur and William Hill argued that the two players were not shown on an individual basis and were not the sole focus of the advert. They were included alongside the rest of the starting line-up and were of no greater significance than any of the other players.

b) ASA Decision

The ASA disagreed and upheld the complaint. Under rule 16.3.14 of the CAP Code, no one who is, or seems to be, under 25 years old may be featured playing a significant role in marking communications except where the communication appears in a place where a bet could be placed directly through a transactional facility, for example a gambling operator’s own website. The individual may only be used to illustrate specific betting selections where that individual was the subject of the bet offered. The advert must not show them in the context of the bet or more generally in a gambling context.

However, the ad in question did not appear on William Hill’s own website, where a bet could be placed through a transactional facility and therefore was not permissible under the CAP Code. Whilst the purpose of the tweet was to inform the audience of the starting line-up, the intention was equally to offer the audience an opportunity to place a bet on the match. Whilst Winks and Sanchez were no more prevalent than the other players, all of the players were the focus of the tweet and the ASA considered that each of them played an equally significant role in the marketing communication. Therefore, the ad breached rules 16.1, 16.3 and 16.3.14 of the CAP Code, with the ASA warning both Tottenham Hotspur and William Hill on future ads that feature those under 25 years old playing a significant role.

A link to the ASA ruling can be found here.

3. Monopoly Casino

a) The Ad

Entertaining Play Limited ("Entertaining Play") placed a banner ad on the Mirror Online website on 7 February 2019 for Monopoly Casino, featuring an image of the character "Mr Monopoly". The issue was whether the ad was likely to be of particular appeal to children.

Entertaining Play argued that the Mr Monopoly character was not of particular appeal to children. It was submitted that the character was consciously shown as an older gentleman, wearing traditional attire, in recognition of the character’s universal appeal. The character did not have any exaggerated features or mimic any style of a children's cartoon character. They also argued that the colours were not overly garish or vibrant and did not draw inspiration from youth culture. They had also taken actions to only target those over 18 with the ad and it included an “18+” label.

b) ASA Decision

The ASA disagreed with these arguments. The steps taken could not ensure that under 18s did not see the ad. Therefore, the ASA had to consider whether the ad complied with rule 16.3.12 of the CAP Code, which requires gambling ads not to be of particular appeal to children. The ASA considered that, as Monopoly is a family game generally played with children, it would be appealing to children. They also disagreed with the submissions regarding the Mr Monopoly character, and considered that the character did have exaggerated features reminiscent of a children’s cartoon. The conclusion was that the use of the Monopoly logo and the character meant that the ad was of particular appeal to under 18s and therefore breached rules 16.1 and 16.3.12 of the CAP Code.

A link to the ASA ruling can be found here.