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Jerome García January 3, 2024 3 min read
Buzz Bingo in Hot Water over Halloween Ad on Facebook
The Advertising Standards Authority upheld its complaint against the operator, explaining that an animated ad which appeared on Facebook breached the CAP Code rules
An advertisement post for Buzz Bingo that contained cartoon Halloween imagery caught the attention of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the regulator in charge of advertising in the UK. The post appeared back in October on Buzz Bingo’s Facebook page, promoting a campaign that promised £50,000 ($63,000) on Mondays throughout the month.
The animated footage included a full moon on top of a scene with pumpkin heads grinning. Moreover, the ad featured a church, flying bats, a spider and a tombstone with a cross in a graveyard. The advertisement’s text read “MONSTER MONDAYS – £50,000 MUST BE WON EVERY MONDAY IN OCTOBER” and it was written with a font that resembled slime. Along with the text, the advertisement included the logo of Buzz Bingo and “18+ – BeGambleAware.org” details.
Scrutinizing Buzz Bingo’s ad, the ASA sought whether or not the cartoon imagery using a Halloween theme was likely to appeal to children. Currently, the advertising rules in the UK prohibit any gambling content to appeal to children. In other words, gambling operators cannot use imagery, characters or personas that are likely to appeal to underage individuals.
According to the ASA, Buzz Bingo “acknowledged the concern that the Halloween imagery could appeal to children.” However, the operator stated that the advertisement was promoted via its social media page on Facebook which was restricted to users under 18. Additionally, Buzz Bingo explained that the advertisement in question targeted only audiences who were 25 or older and had shown interest in bingo games. “They therefore believed they had acted and had taken precautions to prevent children and young people being exposed to the ad,” explained the advertising watchdog.
The ASA Upholds Its Decision against the Operator
Despite the actions taken by the operator, the ASA upheld its decision. According to the watchdog, the ad in question breached the CAP Code rules related to gambling, 16.1 and 16.3.12. Moreover, the ASA reiterated the section of the code which states that gambling marketing materials “must not be likely to be of strong appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture.” It said that under the rules animated graphics or other similar content may “contribute to the impression that material was designed to appeal to under-18s.”
Upholding its decision, the ASA said that Buzz Bingo’s ad must not appear again in the form that was observed previously. Additionally, the advertising watchdog urged the operator not to use imagery or themes that are likely to appeal to underage individuals. Upon receiving the query of the ASA, Buzz Bingo voluntarily removed the aforementioned advertisement.