A television advertisement for Ladbrokes featured scenes of men watching football matches. One man is featured in a pub watching the football as he repeatedly glances down at the app on his phone from the television. Another scene features a crowd in a pub watching the match while a third scene features three men watching football in a house, one of the men jumps up when a goal is scored, followed by them waiting for the results of a video assistant referee.
Voiceover 1: “I’m a nodder, up to the football and down to the App, like a dog on a dashboard.”
Voiceover 2: “If I’ve got a bet on a big game, I tend to get a little bit involved.”
Voiceover 3: “If I’ve got an ACCA coming in, I find myself getting very excited.”
Two complaints were received against the advertisement.
A complainant considered that the advertisement was both harmful and misleading to viewers as to the likely outcome of gambling on football matches, and in turn, was encouraging further gambling without any consideration of the negative outcomes of gambling.
A complainant considered that the advertisement promoted the ‘highs’ associated with gambling which they considered could trigger anyone struggling with a gambling problem and was glamorising the thrills of gambling.
The advertisers said that the advertisement was part of a recent campaign for their brand which had gone through a thorough internal review and sign-off process as per their standard procedure on all above the line campaigns, which included, in the UK, submission to Clearcast and CAP for approval and in Ireland the advertisement had been approved by the broadcasters’ own clearance process. They also said that while it was not a requirement in Ireland, they ensured that the advertisement only aired after 9pm as per their commitment to responsible advertising.
The advertisers said that the creative concept for the advertisement was to present feelings around football matches. The said that the advertisement had featured people in two different scenarios that were designed to represent commonly found excerpts of everyday life. They said that they had not featured characters in a hampered environment, or shown them gambling, rather they were shown to be attentive or excited while watching a football match. They said that the advertisement did not infer to a higher probability of winning, and it had not portrayed any gambling outcome, nor had it made any promise of a prize.
The advertisers said that the advertisement’s concept revolved around the excitement of sport, particularly that of football and its connection to the fans. They said that the peaks of excitement shown were related to the fictitious football action taking place in the advertisement, effectively emulating fans reactions to their team playing. They said that the characters were excited and happy not because of gambling but because they were watching football. They did not consider that the advertisement had glamorised gambling as the characters were not shown gambling.
Complaints Not Upheld
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaints and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted that the advertisement had gone through an approval process both in the UK and in Ireland and that the advertisers had voluntarily opted to only air the advertisement after 9pm on Irish TV channels.
The Complaints Committee noted that the advertisers had stated that they had not featured any of the characters gambling, however, the Committee noted that one of the characters had been shown using the advertisers’ app while watching the match, while another had stated that they had an “ACCA coming in”, therefore, they considered that the impression created by the advertisement was that some of the characters featured had placed a bet. The Committee, however, noted that while engagement had been shown with the football match, no outcomes of any such bets had been shown and in the circumstances the Committee did not consider that the advertisement was in breach of the Code on the grounds raised.
The Complaints Committee noted that the advertisement had featured various people watching a football match and that some of the characters featured were shown engaged with the match. While the advertisement had featured a character using the advertisers’ app, no outcome to any bets had been featured. On examining the advertising, the Committee neither considered that the advertisement had stated or implied the possibility of winning, nor did they consider that it had encouraged gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible under the Code. As the advertising had not featured the outcome of any implied bets, the Committee did not consider that it was in breach of the Code on the grounds raised.
No further action required.