The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have slapped a ban on a Betfair TV commercial after receiving over 20-complaints that the content was both misleading and incorrect.
The TV commercial, which stars Andy Beckwith, claims that Betfair customers will benefit by using their service, because they ‘cut out the middle man’. It seems that the ASA have decided to go one step further, and cut out the man altogether, after receiving the complaints from the general public.
The offending advert shows two young men drinking pints of lager whilst discussing the outcome of a particular sporting event. The character played by Andy Beckwith moves into the middle of the three – whilst supping a bottle of milk – and proceeds to mimic each of the young men as they speak. Eventually, an animated fist punches Beckwith to the floor. The advert ends with a voiceover that states: –
“At Betfair we cut out the middle man, which means you can win bigger.”
Six of the complaints centered on the belief that the advert failed to clarify that Betfair took 5% commission on any winning bets. It’s alleged that the handling of commission is acting as a middleman.
“We noted Betfair took five per cent commission on individual net winnings and considered that, although this differed from the way in which revenue was generated and collected by traditional bookmakers, this fee for the facilitation of betting between consumers could be understood by viewers to be another version of the ‘middleman’ role. We concluded that the ad and the voiceover, ‘at Betfair we cut out the middleman’, was therefore confusing and misleading.” Said an ASA representative.
This is not the first time that Betfair has fallen foul of an ASA ruling. In 2009, two posters and an e-mail advert had gagging orders slapped on them by the ASA.
In response to the ASA ruling, Betfair spokesman Andy Lulham said, “Betfair notes the decision of the ASA to uphold the complaints against the company with regards its ‘cut out the middleman’ campaign. Betfair is disappointed that these complaints have been upheld.” He then continued, “Betfair’s betting exchange offers customers innovative, unique and best-value betting experience and we believe our television adverts relayed this proposition to audiences in a genuine and transparent manner.”