UK ad watchdog blasts Sky Bet over Gary Neville tweet

The ASA has told Sky Bet not to use content that could appeal to minors.
The ASA has told Sky Bet not to use content that could appeal to minors.

The ASA says the post would appeal to minors.

UK.- The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has criticised a Sky Bet Twitter post featuring former footballer Gary Neville. It said that the advert would appeal under 18s, putting it in breach of the CAP Code rules 16.1, 16.3 and 16.3.12.

The promoted post on X, the former Twitter, appeared on February 9. It featured a video clip from football podcast The Overlap in which Neville spoke about which team could win the Premier League.

The Sky Bet logo appeared several times in the video, which ended with the text “Brought to you by Sky Bet” and the GambleAware logo. The tweet itself read: “Is Gary changing his title prediction? Thanks to Man City, It seems @GNev2 is having a change of heart. Part three of The Overlap Fan Debate is out now.” The tweet also featured multiple emojis.

Sky Bet argued that as a long-retired player of a “mature age”, Neville did not have strong appeal for under-18s. It pointed out that Neville had been a brand ambassador for Sky Bet since 2018 and is already recognised in connection with its products. It also noted that among The Overlap’s audience, only 1.2 per cent is aged between 13 and 17. This was even lower at 0.5 per cent for the episode in question.

As in previous rulings against Ladbrokes and Bet Victor, the ASA noted that age targeting on Twitter was unreliable since it relies on users to self-verify. It also noted that the Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP Code) states that footballers turned pundits present a “moderate risk” of strong appeal to minors. It noted that Neville had 80,000 followers aged under 18 on Instagram and 55,000 on X.

It said: “Although they made up a small proportion of his total Instagram and Twitter/X followers, we considered that over 135,000 followers aged under 18 was a significant number in absolute terms. We therefore considered that because he had such large numbers of social media followers that were under 18, he was of inherent strong appeal to under-18s.”

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