This month, the Advertising Standards Authority has been publishing its latest rulings regarding customer complaints. While the companies and organisations that have been investigated represent a range of niches as diverse as life insurance and e-cigarettes, two are linked to well-known British gambling brands, Paddy Power and Sky Bet.
Why were complaints made?
The ASA published its ruling on the Paddy Power complaints on 8th February 2023 after determining that the complaints it received should not be upheld.
There were two complainants in the case who took issue with two separate TV ads for Paddy Power that were shown last November.
The first ad offered viewers a “completely free bet builder on all England games” and feature the ex-England football player, Peter Crouch. The second advert also starred Peter Crouch and used a Christmas theme. Both ads used the slogan “Where were you in ’22?” as a push to get viewers to get behind the England World Cup team while also celebrating Christmas.
The complainants’ issue with the adverts regarded Peter Crouch’s appearance, which they felt made the ads strongly appealing to minors and, therefore, breached the advertising standards code.
Not down with the youth!
Paddy Power challenged the complaints by pointing out that Peter Crouch’s last appearance as a footballer for the England national team was in 2010, meaning that his popularity among under-18s had waned. As a 40-year-old, the sports betting brand believed that older viewers were more likely to relate with Peter than youngsters.
The ASA agreed with Paddy Power’s arguments and felt that the complaints should not be upheld.
The ASA’s ruling on a promoted tweet for Sky Bet was also published on 8th February. This time, the image featured the former English footballer Micah Richards and an offer for “£20 in free bets when you place a £5 bet”.
Again, the ad garnered two separate complaints that related to a high-profile footballer’s appearance making the ad more appealing to under-18s.
Sky Bet responded to the ASA by saying that Micah Richards left the Premier League in 2015 and that he has spent most of his time since at overseas clubs. It added that the star is now commonly recognised as a football pundit rather than a former England player and that the tweet had been specially targeted at adults and not children.
The ASA concluded that the ad was not overly appealing to young people or children and, therefore, did not uphold the complaints.