UK’s ASA Bans a Coral TV Ad for Insinuating Betting on Horse Racing

The UK’s ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) has ruled that a TV ad for Coral, which was broadcasted in March 2022, encouraged gambling and in doing so, it breached BCAP Code rules 17.3, 17.3.1 and 1.2, which refer to gambling and responsible advertising. Hence, ASA stated that the ad must be taken down and cannot appear in the same form again. 

The TV Ad Did Not Have Any Direct Implication to Gambling but Insinuated Such Activities 

Coral’s ad included close-up shots of spectators that were excited about a horse racing event. According to Coral, the idea of the ad was to capture the attention of viewers and give them a feeling of what type of excitement these races bring. 

In the top-left corner of the screen, “BeGambleAware.org 18+” was displayed and the operator stated that the BCAP Code did not prevent advertisers from providing an image of gambling as an entertaining activity.

According to the BCAP Code, ads must not promote gambling that could lead to financial or psychological harm. Advertisers should not encourage people to gamble more than they would usually spend. 

Even though ASA acknowledged the fact that the ad did not directly promote gambling in any way, all of the horses in the ad featured the operator’s name, and the voice-over in the ad continuously used the phrase “your horse.”

Hence, ASA concluded that the viewers are likely to consider the ad as a call to bet on horses with Coral, aside from the portrayed thrill that comes from watching horse races. 

In terms of the voice-over, ASA marked one more section in which the voice-over stated “How long have you waited for those gates to crash open … What about earlier still?” ASA stated that this phrase could lead to viewers considering the ad as a way to anticipate the results of the race before the race takes place and that activity is tied to gambling. 

ASA Recently Launched the Next Step of Its Ad Campaign 

Recently, ASA has been quite busy making sure that the industry adheres to its standards concerning advertising. In June, the advertising regulator launch a series of ads targeted at opinion formers as a way to raise awareness of ad regulation across all media. 

These ads appeared in July and they highlighted some of the areas where ASA is proactively working to make sure that the ads are honest, legal, and decent. Food and drinks, climate change, influencer advertising, salt and sugar, and gambling were some of the industries that were highlighted. One day after launching its campaign, ASA proved that it means business as it banned a Paddy Power ad for prioritizing gambling activities at family expenses.

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