Bingo advert unfair

Since the relaxation of gambling advertising rules in the UK, TV and radio have seen a vast increase in gambling related adverts. However, this doesn’t mean that gambling sites can get away with any kind of advertising; the rules are still quite stringent as to what is acceptable for TV and Radio advertising and what is not.A recent TV ad for Camelot, the operator of the National Lottery, has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after the Bingo Association complained to the advertising regulator that it unfairly denigrated bingo halls.

The agency AMV BBDO was responsible for the advert, which was for a National Lottery scratch card. The scene starts with a woman driving an electric mobility scooter past a closed bingo hall, whose doors have been padlocked. The woman’s eyes look skyward and she is heard tutting.The scene suddenly changes so that you see the woman riding along a sunny beach front, sporting new clothes and jewellery, whilst she now rides on a customised scooter, having won on a National Lottery scratch card.

The Bingo Association’s complaint argued the advert was misleading and denigratory because it implied that bingo clubs were closed and that the industry was dying.

However Camelot countered that the ad was intended to highlight that a National Lottery scratch card winner could ‘upgrade’ a particular aspect of their life.

The company added that the advert was set early in the morning and most bingo clubs were not open 24 hours a day, so it was possible that the woman had purchased a scratch card when her club was closed. They also argued that the bingo hall in the ad was closed, not shut down.In its ruling, ASA said that it was not clear from the advert what time of day it was, and that the image of a padlock and chains, as well as the ‘aged drab look’ of the bingo hall, and the ‘tutting’ of the woman gave the impression that the bingo club was ‘closed permanently.’The ASA were quoted as saying “We also considered that those images implied that bingo clubs in general were closing down and the industry was dying. We concluded that the ad was misleading and denigrated the bingo industry.” They ruled that it should not be broadcast again in its current form. A video of the advert can be viewed here courtesy of the Guardian.co.uk.

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