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UK: ASA rules against Paddy Power Games and Kwiff

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United Kingdom May 10 2018

The ASA found that PPG's ad did not condone or encourage gambling that was socially irresponsible. It also found that whilst Kwiff's ad was not of particular appeal to under-18s, it did depict juvenile behaviour in breach of the BCAP Code.

The Ads

a) PPG

This TV ad, seen in December 2017, featured a casino security guard singing while watching casino customers through monitors. The lyrics suggested he was envious of the customers and he was shown using the Paddy Power mobile app to gamble on his break.

The issue was whether the ad was socially irresponsible in portraying the casino guard as desperate to gamble and gambling as taking priority in life.

PPG said the ad did not contain any suggestion that the guard was neglecting any work or family commitments and the lyrics used such as “a cheeky little dabble” did not suggest he was betting in excess. Further, it said the café location was deliberately chosen as the place where the guard was shown to gamble as there was a clear separation between this and his work environment. Clearcast reiterated the main points in PPG's response, stating it was evidently clear that the security guard was choosing to gamble in his spare time.

b) Kwiff

Kwiff’s TV ad, also seen in December 2017, contained a voiceover which stated that if the customer bet on the Ashes cricket tournament, their odds might “get Kwiffed”. It then stated that being Kwiffed was like:

“…the end of a school day. The teacher says no homework tonight. But there was one thing I need you all do to do. I need you to pop all these bubbles for me. Do you think you could do that?”

The ad then featured grown men in school uniform and one particular shot showed a female teacher open a wooden chest which was followed by the men popping bubble wrap.

The issues were whether:

  1. the ad was irresponsible because it was likely to be of particular appeal to under-18s; and
  2. whether the ad showed juvenile behaviour, which is prohibited in gambling ads under the BCAP Code.

Kwiff argued that while under-18s might recognise the scene as a classroom, the context of older men in school uniforms in a scene reminiscent of schools in the 1950s and 1960s would not appeal to youths but rather an older audience. Clearcast considered that the reference and the depiction of the school was unlikely to be seen as “youth culture”, and in line with Kwiff’s response, the scene of popping bubble wrap would be of general rather than of particular appeal to those under 18.

The Decisions

a) PPG

The ASA acknowledged that the ad suggested the guard was envious to a degree but there was no suggestion from the lyrics or tone used that he was desperate to gamble. Further, it considered that his gambling was not presented as taking priority over work or social commitments.

The ASA concluded that the ad did not portray, condone or encourage gambling that was socially irresponsible or portray gambling as taking priority in life. Therefore, there was no breach of BCAP Code rules 17.3.1 or 17.3.4.

A link to the full ASA ruling on the PPG ad can be found here.

b) Kwiff

On the first issue, the ASA concluded that the classroom shown did not resemble modern day school classrooms or reflect youth culture or be of appeal to under-18s. Therefore, it did not breach BCAP Code rule 17.4.5.

On the second issue, however, the ASA considered that popping bubble wrap was mostly enjoyed by young children and therefore concluded that the scenes showing men popping bubble wrap depicted juvenile behaviour. Therefore it was in breach of BCAP Code rule 17.4.6.

A link to the full ASA ruling on the Kwiff ad can be found here.

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=95b80e60-d9cd-40c1-9520-69b8a85ee505