November 15, 2023 3 min read


ASA Reprimands Rank Group’s Baga Chipz Instagram Ad

The Advertising Standards Agency has rebuked a controversial ad featuring drag Queen Baga Chipz from Rank Group’s Mecca Bingo

Gambling company with a strong focus on building a one-of-a-kind mix of player experiences, digital channels, and branded venues in the United Kingdom and Spain, Rank Group, has been criticized by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) in regard to a challenging Instagram post from Mecca Bingo

The latter, which is the group’s community gaming brand aimed at the British market, has been accused of publishing a post consisting of two photos that allegedly suggested that gambling could “enhance a person’s self-image or self-esteem.”

Complaints From the Public

The post, which showcased popular drag queen, Baga Chipz, and was originally published on April 16, sparked controversy online while also attracting two complaints

The first image of the post showed Baga Chipz dressed in a plain and dark outfit, with no makeup on and showing a serious face. The second photo showed the drag queen in a completely different mood, smiling, holding a glass of champagne, and wearing a full face of makeup.

The post was accompanied by a series of hashtags including #bingo, #winning, #feelinggood, and #winningfeeling as well as a text that read “Before playing Mecca Bingo vs after playing Mecca Bingo.”

The same post reprimanded by the AGA was accompanied by the caption “A good game can transform you! Don’t you just love that post-bingo glow?”

The two complaints from the public challenged whether the purpose of the post was to suggest that gambling may improve the self-esteem and self-image of a person, which would have deemed its message irresponsible.

The ASA Ruled the Public Complaints Were Founded

While assessing the complaints, the watchdog established that the Instagram post together with its caption and hashtags, could imply that a person would be able to achieve a higher self-image by engaging in bingo gameplay, as well as by winning.

The agency ASA also ruled that some viewers might interpret the use of Baga Chipz as a reference to drag queens in general, as explained by the operator itself while emphasizing that the “overall impression” of the post would suggest that gambling could improve a person’s self-esteem and self-image.

Accordingly, the body asked Rank Group to not display the ad again while asking them to make sure that their upcoming marketing communications will not fall into the same rabbit hole. 

Rank Group acknowledged the ad might have been interpreted the wrong way when viewed by someone who did not understand the “full context” while adding that the purpose of the post was “very evidently light-hearted.”

Mecca Bingo further explained the post was used to convey the message that their services were “fun and entertaining” and that the term “good game” was aimed at the positive experience and atmosphere tied to the brand. Last month, the group announced inking an agreement with Pragmatic Play for their live casino games after it extended its long-term partnership with Kambi in August.

After finishing her master's in publishing and writing, Melanie began her career as an online editor for a large gaming blog and has now transitioned over towards the iGaming industry. She helps to ensure that our news pieces are written to the highest standard possible under the guidance of senior management.

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