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Advertiser: Winners Enclosure
Medium: Internet (Social Media)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 10.4, 10.10, 10.16
A social media post stated featured a photograph of a man presenting a boy with a cheque. The wording of the post stated:
“Best of luck to local [team redacted] player [name redacted] as he represents Wicklow in the Galway Cup from all in Winner’s Enclosure.”
The complainant objected to the use of a child in a marketing communication for a gambling company and said that children cannot be used to promote gambling. The complainant said that the competition referenced in the social media post was an underage competition, therefore, the boy featured was underage.
The advertisers stated that the photograph was one of a series that featured in the local newspaper promoting the County Wicklow under 16 football team. They said that players were required to seek sponsorship from local businesses, and a series of photographs were taken to reflect that fact and were nothing to do with promoting gambling. They said that while the photograph had shown the company name, it was not promoting any gambling product or service and was not therefore a marketing communication for gambling services.
The advertisers said that the photograph had merely communicated the fact that they were sponsoring the young man and could not be seen to be a communication that would harm or exploit the young person in any way. They also said that the photograph was not reflecting or associated with youth culture in any way, was not directed at any particular aged person and was in a local newspaper intended for general publication.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Committee noted that while the inclusion of a photograph as part of its editorial coverage in a newspaper would not be a marketing communication for the purposes of the Code (2.3i), the re-publication of a photograph by a company on their own social media could be a marketing communication. The Committee noted that Section 10 of the Code applied to any marketing communication which promotes the name, familiarity or reputation of gambling companies whether or not a gambling product was shown or referred to (10.1b). As the social media post which included the photograph in this case had included the company name, they considered that the rules of Section 10 applied.
The Committee noted that the depiction of the child in the marketing communication was not incidental and that therefore the marketing communication was in breach of Code Section 10.17(e).
The marketing communication should not reappear in its current form.