ASA warns Ladbrokes over Jake Paul advert

The ASA ruling contrasts with a recent decision in another case.
The ASA ruling contrasts with a recent decision in another case.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the advert breached rules against appealing to young audiences.

UK.- The Advertising Standards Authority has warned Entain’s Ladbrokes brand for a social media poll about the social media personality Jake Paul. The bookmaker had run a poll ahead of Paul’s second boxing match against Tommy Fury in February.

The test read: “So, we’ve got to ask the question… What’s next for Jake Paul? Vote here now.” The options to vote for were that Paul would win his rematch against Fury, go into mixed martial arts, return to his YouTube career or join the WWE.

The ASA said the use of Paul meant that the post breached Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) rules on appealing to younger demographics. It noted that despite Paul turning to boxing, he had a background on YouTube and retained a large social media following among young users, with 3 million of his 65 million followers across YouTube, TikTok and Instagram registered as under 18. He also starred in Disney’s children’s programme Bizaardvark.

The ASA concluded that Paul still had a “strong appeal” to under-18s and that as such the Ladbrokes post was irresponsible. That is despite the company using targeting and age-gating on Twitter and despite Paul not having a large audience of under 18s on that particular platform.

The finding contrasts with the ASA’s recent rejection of a complaint against a bet365 tweet that featured the boxer Chris Eubank Jr. In that case, the watchdog found that the post was acceptable because since boxing was an adult sport Eubank did not have a strong appeal to under-18s.

The two cases show the importance of operators fully analysing the profiles of any athlete or celebrity that they mention in adverts or posts. Ladbrokes had argued that boxing was not listed as a moderate or high-risk sport because of its mainly adult audience, but it failed to consider Paul’s wider profile outside of the sport.

The ASA has ordered Ladbrokes to remove the ad and to avoid featuring a person or character with stong appeal to those under 18 years of age in the future.

See also: UK advertising watchdog updates guidance for promoting matched betting

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