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UK – Gala Spins advert ruled ‘irresponsible’ by Advertising Standards Authority

By - 29 October 2020

A paid-for Facebook post by Gala Spins, seen on 12 August, featuring a caption which stated “IT’S A ROLLERCOASTER OF CUTENESS!”, has been ruled ‘irresponsible’ and ‘likely to appeal to under-18s’ by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The post included a video which began with a voice-over that stated “What’s your spin?”. The video included text that stated “GALA Spins” and “What’s your spin?” following which the video showed text which stated “Fluffy Favourites” and five toy animals.

Gala Spins said the ad was posted on their Facebook account which was age-gated to those who were over 18 years old. They said that age restriction would immediately prevent those who were underage from viewing and accessing the Gala Spins page.

Gala Spins added that they posted the video featuring stuffed animals in error and that it was an out-of-date video. They said that the stuffed toys featured in the eight-second video appeared between seconds four and six; viewers would have had to press play for the video to run.

Gala Spins claimed the video was part of a multi-channel campaign targeting females in the UK aged between 18 and 65 with an interest in gambling and online gaming. They provided analytics of the campaign which they said showed that none of those who saw the ad were under 18 years old and all were women. They said the ad had since been taken down on all channels.

The CAP Code stated that gambling ads must not be likely to be of particular appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture. Gambling ads could not therefore appeal more strongly to under-18s than they did to over-18s.

The ASA understood that the ad was not seen in an age-gated environment and outside of that environment Gala Spins had taken steps to target the ad only at those between 18 and 65 years of age. However, they understood that targeting of the ad was based on an audience which had self-reported their age and where there were otherwise no prohibitions on under-18s.

Therefore, the steps taken could not ensure that under-18s, who falsely reported their age, were not exposed to the ad. The ASA considered that the cartoon-like imagery of five stuffed toy animals was likely to appeal to under-18s and that the game’s name “Fluffy Favourites”, and the ad’s caption “IT’S A ROLLERCOASTER OF CUTENESS!”, were likely to strengthen that appeal.

The standards authority considered that those factors combined to give the ad a child-like theme. For those reasons, they ruled that the ad was likely to be of particular appeal to under-18s, and therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and breached the Code.

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