ASA blasts drag queen Mecca Bingo ad

Mecca has removed the advert.
Mecca has removed the advert.

The UK advertising watchdog says the ad suggests that gambling can boost self-esteem.

UK.- The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has criticised an advert for Mecca Bingo for implying that gambling can boost self-esteem. The Instagram post from August featured two photos of the drag queen Baga Chipz: one with a neutral expression and one smiling while wearing a red sparkly dress and holding champagne.

The copy above the images read “Before playing Mecca Bingo vs after playing Mecca Bingo” while the caption read “A good game can transform you! Don’t you just love that post-bingo glow. Over 18s only. Ts&Cs apply.” 

Two complaints argued that the ad suggested that gambling could enhance an individual’s self-esteem or self-image. Mecca denied that this was the intention and said the ad aimed to suggest that Mecca offers fun experiences. It noted that it regularly works with Baga Chipz and that the concept of ‘transformation’ was common in the drag industry.

It added that it had avoided making any references to winning in order to suggest that the “feel-good” factor was not the result of winning alone. However, the Rank-owned operator accepted that the ad could have been interpreted differently and removed it.

The ASA ruled that it violated CAP Code rules 16.1 and 16.3.6 by implying that an improved self-image could be attained by playing bingo. It also criticised the hashtags used, #winningfeeling and #feelinggood, which it suggested did suggest that the fun came from winning.

ASA said: “We acknowledged that the ad featured well-known drag queen Baga Chipz and that the two images, combined with a reference to being transformed, would have been interpreted by some viewers to be a reference about drag queens. We still considered the overall impression of the ad, particularly through the contrasting images, suggested gambling could improve an individual’s self-image or self-esteem.”

ASA raps Betfred for Anthony Joshua tweets

Earlier this month, the ASA found that three Twitter posts made by BetFred breached rules against using celebrities with appeal to under-18s. The posts on the platform named X featured the British boxer Anthony Joshua.

Two of the posts involved an interview with commentator Dom McGuinness. The third showed Joshua speaking about his mentality when he is fighting. BetFred said it had investigated Joshua and decided that he did not have a strong appeal to under-18s because he is coming to the end of his career. It also argued that it age-gates its social media channels. BetFred stressed that 0 per cent of Joshua’s followers on X, TikTok and Facebook were registered as between 13 and 17.

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