ONLINE GAMBLING COMPANIES PULLED UP BY UK ADVERT CONTROL BODY
Advertising Standards Authority unhappy with Paddy Power and Intercasino ads
The United Kingdom's Advertising Standards Authority has taken exception to ads from gambling companies that it claims linked online gambling with increased sexual prowess. The Paddy Power and Intercasino ads will probably be withdrawn as a consequence.
The Advertising Standards Authority said Paddy Power was "irresponsible" to suggest gambling won admiration in an advert for financial spread betting that featured a man drinking champagne in a limousine, flanked by two women with some innuendo in the copy.
Paddy Power said the promotion targeted a "very specific" audience who would understand its "whimsical" nature. The advert was specifically aimed at those who would have understood that the term "being short" referred to financial spread betting, the company claimed.
The ad also attempted to re-enact a scene from Oliver Stone's relevant film Wall Street, the company said.
It has now withdrawn the advert from all UK media outlets.
ASA authorities disagreed with the Paddy Power defence, saying: "We concluded the ad suggested this man's 'shortcoming' had been overcome by the wealth he had acquired through gambling."
The Paddy Power advert featured a short man and the text: "Who says you can't make money being short?"
Upholding a complaint, the ASA said the advert had suggested the man's self esteem had been transformed by his financial success, which appeared to have come from gambling.
"We concluded the ad suggested this man's 'shortcoming' had been overcome by the wealth he had acquired through gambling and therefore that the ad implied gambling was a way to improve self-esteem or gain recognition or admiration. We concluded the ad was irresponsible."
The ASA also upheld a second complaint about a series of television adverts for InterCasino, a Malta-based internet casino, which featured slapstick humour. It agreed these were likely to appeal to children.
The InterCasino adverts were considered after the ASA monitored television commercials in September and October 2007 to check compliance with its new rules.
The ASA said the adverts would appeal to children and young people because they featured small characters wearing costumes and participating in gameshow-style activities similar to Japanese programme Takeshi's Castle.
They breached advertising rules because they depicted juvenile behaviour, it said.
InterCasino maintained the humour was not intended to be juvenile and said the advertisements were designed to fit its "fun and relatively light-hearted" brand.
The four gambling adverts featuring slapstick dwarfs dressed as dice and playing cards, and have become the first to be banned under new laws that stop children being targeted.
InterCasino said it had been aiming at a Benny Hill-style slapstick humour. But the advertising watchdog criticised the TV commercials for copying the style and stunts of shows such as Jackass and Banzai that are popular with younger viewers.
"The slapstick humour was likely to appeal to children and young persons," the Advertising Standards Authority said.
It added that under new rules following the loosening of restrictions on TV gambling advertising, companies "should not appeal to people under 18, or associate gambling with sexual success, increased popularity or as a solution to financial problems".