UK watchdog raps Lindar Media for MrQ ad

Reddit says it has updated its policy for gambling ads following the ASA
Reddit says it has updated its policy for gambling ads following the ASA

The brand had used a popular cartoon image of three spidermen in an ad on Reddit.

UK.- The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has criticised the gaming group Lindar Media for an advert promoting its MrQ brand on Reddit. The advert used a popular image often used as a meme, which shows three spidermen characters pointing at each other.

The ASA opened an investigation in June after receiving complaints. It’s now concluded that the use of a comic book character meant that the paid ad would have particular appeal to minors, thus breaching the Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code).

The ad must not be shown again and Lindar Media must ensure that future gambling ads do not hold particular appeal for those under 18.

The ASA said: “The ASA understood the ad was making reference to a popular meme. Nevertheless, we considered that a cartoon depiction of Spiderman, a popular comic book character, was likely to appeal more strongly to under-18s than it would over-18s.

“We therefore considered that the ad, which featured three cartoon depictions of Spiderman, was likely to have particular appeal to children and concluded that it breached the code.”

Lindar Media said that an agency had placed the ad and had used audience targeting so that it would only be shown to people who were already interested in gambling. However, it admitted that its own team had not seen the images before the ad was placed.

Lindar added that its marketing terms and conditions clarify that agencies should not use images of famous individuals or brands. It said it had terminated its relationship with the agency in question as a result of the breach.

Reddit itself said that it had updated its own advertising policy to prohibit the use of cartoon characters in paid-for gambling advertising.

Last month, the ASA banned ads from Rank and Coral, upholding complaints from the public. It described both ads as “socially irresponsible”.

The Rank Group ad was a communication used in its Lucky Night mobile casino game to promote another casino game, Wolf Gold. The ad offered a £400 welcome bonus and featured the text: “Everyone wants to solve theirs [sic] financial problems. Click the download button right now and start to earn. In fact, it’s all very easy to do with our application. Pay off loans, buy a car and a nice house and make a lot of money!”

The ASA said the reference to financial problems and the phrase “start to earn” suggested that the app could be used to obtain a consistent income and financial security. It also said the ad suggested that the player would be able to make major purchases through gambling. The ad thus breached rules 16.1, 16.3, 16.3.1 and 16.3.4 of the CAP Code.

In June, the ASA warned gambling operators to ensure that content marketing on social media meets advertising rules. It said it had received questions about whether content marketing counts as marketing for the purposes of the CAP code. Its conclusion is that the “vast majority” does.

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