Ladbrokes’ latest TV commercials received two thumbs down by the Advertising Standards Authority who claimed that the ads breed “excessive risk taking and recless behaviour”. Ladbrokes is not pleased and will appeal the decision because from their perspective, the ads were humourous and light-hearted with a message that Players don’t have to take risks anywhere else. One ad featured a man skydiving for a parachute with a pack of chips in one hand. In the other ad, a man with bacon and sausages tied around his waist was swimming with sharks. Initially the ASA argued that the ad:
- portrayed gambling in a context of toughness or linked it to risk taking and reckless behaviour;
- portrayed, condoned or encouraged people to gamble in a way that was socially irresponsible and could lead to financial harm;
- exploited the susceptibilities and aspirations of vulnerable people, according to the BCAP TV Advertising Code.
The ASA later cleared the last 2 charges but maintained the first and banned the ad accordingly.
Ladbrokes is now lodging a request with the Independent Reviewer of ASA Adjudications to review the decision. While we waited for the Round 1 of the ad ban fighting match to proceed, Ladbrokes got themselves busy rebutting the ban with another humourous ad featuring a mock up of a police missing persons poster. The ad offered a £20 BONUS to the lucky Player who found the person responsible for getting the ad banned. The ad headline read in bold print “MISSING” and in smaller print below “(a funny bone)”. It described the complainant as: “Body Type: Busy. Nose: Severely out of joint. Last Seen: Throwing toys out of pram.” Ladbrokes further said that the complainant need not worry because all it (Ladbrokes) wants to do is give them a big bunch of flowers and a hug to say sorry.”