The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rapped the Daily Mirror for its use of a Transformers character in an ad promoting its MirrorCasino.com gambling site. The ad featured the Optimus Prime Transformer, which most adults will remember from that movie in which Megan Fox’s bulbous arse appeared bent over a Camaro. The ASA received complaints (actually, just one) that the ad would appeal to kids, but the Mirror’s parent company Trinity Mirror protested that Optimus Prime was a character in one of their online casino’s branded slots games. As for the suggestion that the ad was intended to appeal to kids, Trinity Mirror noted that the ad only appeared in the paper’s Money section, which most kids not named Fauntleroy avoid like the plague. The ASA disagreed, and the Mirror has agreed not to run Transformer-themed ads again.
In a second nitpicking action, the ASA upheld a complaint against a BetVictor TV spot that claimed the bookie offered the “best prices, most often, in the Premier League last season.” BetVictor cited Oddschecker data that supported its claim to fame, which the ASA accepted, but since the advert didn’t specify that the odds in question applied strictly to the match result market, the ASA judged the claim to be overbroad and thus misleading. BetVictor has agreed not to run the ad again and in future, to clarify which betting market they’re bragging about.
AUSSIES TIRED OF FART BETTING
On the other side of the globe, incessant advertising by Australian wagering operators is running the risk of creating a backlash among the general public. Sydney media buying agency Chaos Media says advertising spend by betting outfits rose 13% to $127m over the past year, and one in five Aussies between 18 and 64 years now bet on sports at least once a month. A study of 1,200 Aussies by Crossman Communications showed that betting operators had been successful in their quest to “normalize” the practice of betting on sports through the use of advertising, sponsorships and from commentators incorporating betting stats into match analysis.
But Jackie Crossman told Marketing magazine that the open invitation to wager has also “woken people up to the dangers of receiving live odds updates and direct sponsorships of teams with logos plastered over players’ uniforms.” A third of the Crossman study’s respondents thought wagering firms’ sponsorship of teams should end and 40% thought commentators shouldn’t be passing on betting odds to their viewers. One in eight über-annoyed respondents thought sports betting adverts represented more of an existential threat to society than alcohol or tobacco promos.
Such concerns were publicly expressed last week in inimitable fashion by Formula One driver Mark Webber, who said he loved sport but wasn’t “a big fan of how much [sports betting is] rammed down your throat in Australia, in terms of how you can bet on who farts at what stage in a football match. It’s incredible how obsessed we’ve become with gambling and betting, but to each his own. I would rather ride my mountain bike.” Well, then… On your bike, Mark.