United Kingdom’s leading platform for price comparisons MoneySuperMarket (MSM) and Flutter Entertainment-owned sportsbook Paddy Power have been sanctioned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The UK’s main advertising regulator has banned two radio ads that the two companies broadcast last December. According to ASA, the two ads had unclear and unintelligible voiceover announcements regarding terms and conditions.
Too Fast, Too Quiet, a Recipe for Disaster
The two ads were labeled as misleading because of the fast speed and low volume used by the voiceovers when detailing the terms and conditions of the promotions. Paddy Power’s ad promoted free bet offers related to the operator’s “Bet Builder” product. The voiceover at the end of the ad presented terms and conditions including a maximum free bet of £10 ($13) per day, 1/5 per leg minimum odds, or a minimum of four legs.
One complainant claimed the respective terms were sped up and presented at a volume that was too low for the audience to properly hear them. Paddy Power stated the voiceover’s announcement regarding the terms and conditions of the promotions had not been sped up or given any embellishing effects, precisely in order to maximize the quality of the sound.
The ASA supported the complaint and agreed on the fact that the ad’s wording was poorly delivered, causing listeners to not be able to hear the entirety of the spoken terms and conditions. Paddy Power’s radio ad also breached the Code of Broadcast Advertising in the UK, which led to the company being issued a warning for future ads. Paddy Power’s spokesman said the company accepted the ruling on its limited ad that had only run around Christmas. The spokesman added that the sportsbook will “strongly consider its guidance with regards to the presentation of material information” for its upcoming ads while appreciating the clarification received on the matter.
Ireland’s ASA (ASAI) also upheld a series of similar complaints regarding Paddy Power ads that ran during the Six Nations’ rugby event in 2019. The ads were labeled as being “anti-English” by the ASA.
MoneySuperMarket Acknowledges Its Mistake
As for the MoneySuperMarket.com radio ad, the company acknowledged that the related terms and conditions had been presented at a faster speed than the speed used for the rest of the ad. The respective terms referred to the savings that radio listeners could make upon switching credit cards via the advertised service.
MSM also specified that, in their view, their ad strictly followed Radiocentre’s recommendations regarding the manner in which such terms should be presented to listeners. Radiocentre is the UK’s industry body for commercial radio and it is currently working on behalf of more than five dozen stakeholders operating 300+ licensed radio stations across the country.
Last November, ASA banned a 777.com gambling ad for being “misleading”. The operator was not able to provide the watchdog with clear evidence to disprove the decision, which prompted ASA to conclude that the respective ad was misleading.