The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is banning a StarWins.com ad for “objectifying women” and generally embracing a sexist attitude.

It’s another example of how gambling operators work under the glare of incredible regulatory scrutiny.  It’s an atmosphere where even a single complaint to the ASA can completely derail massive marketing and advertising campaigns.

At issue is an advertisement that aired in January and features two men sitting in a standard issue UK pub when an attractive woman walks by. One of the blokes at the bar pulls out his phone and says, “Allow me to introduce you to Star Wins.”

Once the man swipes his phone, the pub is transformed into a glamorous casino, which also happens to be inhabited by attractive female gamblers and croupiers. When the fantasy sequence ends, the men are returned to the original pub, but have made friends with the attractive woman and her companion.

This imagery prompted a single complaint to the ASA which suggested that the ad was sexist. The ASA agreed and built on the complaint saying:

The ASA challenged whether the ad suggested that gambling could enhance personal qualities, and linked gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness.

Officials at the Bear Group Ltd., which operates StarWins, defended the ad, saying that it merely depicted a typical casino. They went on to say that the use of female croupiers merely highlights the progress woman have made in landing casino jobs that were once occupied solely by males.

The ASA dismissed that argument and went on to suggest that pretty much everything about the ad smacked of sexism. In their ruling, they stated that the ad must never run again.

It’s worth noting that this entire action was prompted by a single complaint.


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