ASA sanctions “irresponsible” Ladbrokes ad

ASA criticised the ad for showing that a customer was distracted  by betting.
ASA criticised the ad for showing that a customer was distracted by betting.

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint against an ad from Ladbrokes after finding it showed socially irresponsible gambling.

UK.- The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint over a Ladbrokes video ad that it said showed “socially irresponsible” gambling behaviour that completely absorbed a player.

The add, broadcast on All4 on October 25, 2020, depicted a customer at a café using the Ladbrokes app while a television showed a clip of a horse race. A voiceover said: “Come starter’s order, I’m a bag of nerves” and the man was shown with shaking legs and ignoring his partner.

Read more: ASA raises concerns about gambling advertising

Ladbrokes defended the ad saying it: “did not believe the ad depicted socially irresponsible behaviour because the man was not shown placing a bet nor indeed talking about gambling” but was “simply getting nervous ahead of starter’s orders”.

It said it considered “nerves before a sporting event” as “nomal emotions”.

Read more: ASA warns gambling operators over ads seen by children

Both Clearcast, which clears ads for broadcast on UK commercial television, and Channel Four, had accepted the ad.

ASA said: “We disagreed with Clearcast’s view that the man was never disconnected from his companion, or from the room, and considered viewers would assume from his behaviour that he was preoccupied with the outcome of the race in relation to a bet he had placed.

“We also considered that the man was obviously detached from his surroundings as he watched.”

Ladbrokes was told to ensure that future ads do not depict gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible.

ASA said: “Marketers should take care to avoid an implication of such behaviours, for instance, outwardly light-hearted or humorous approaches that could be regarded as portrayals of those behaviours.

“Behaviours associated with people displaying or at risk from problem gambling included detachment from surroundings and preoccupation with gambling.”

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