UK gambling outfit Coral are hanging their heads in shame tonight after one of their ads was called out for airing during Saturday morning cartoons. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) reported that on May 25, Turner Broadcasting’s Cartoon Network and Boomerang channels aired a Coral advert nine times between 6:42am and 8:42am. As luck would have it, the ad in question featured the Incredible Hulk, giving gambling critics more ammunition for their claim that gambling companies target children.
Coral, who were under the impression they’d bought time on Turner Classic Movies, were “horrified” by the cockup. Turner has “apologized unreservedly” for the gaffe, insisting that some minion had assigned the wrong booking number to the ad, which caused it to be “inadvertently and incorrectly scheduled.” The ASA declined to take action, noting that the ad had already been pulled and Turner’s ineptitude appears to have been genuine.
The ASA also rebuked bookies William Hill for an advert in which the only objectionable content was in the minds of the ASA investigators. ‘Casino Live’ (viewable below) was a spot pimping Hills’ live dealer online casino, and it starts with a tight shot of a woman’s eyes. The image pulls back, giving us an appallingly brief shot of the woman’s cleavage before proceeding on down to her hands, where we discover she’s a roulette croupier. From there we get stylish but utterly safe close-ups of card and dice tables, closing with a static shot of several male and female dealers waiting at tables. The women wear basque-style tops, the men wear suits.
The Gambling Reform and Society Perception Group (GRASP) – current frontrunner for acronym of the year honors – objected to Hills’ ad, saying it linked gambling to seduction. Hills rolled their eyes, noting that the uniforms were “tasteful, professional” and wouldn’t be out of place at a brick-and-mortar Mayfair Casino. Broadcast vetting outfit Clearcast sided with Hills, calling it a “slightly stylized portrayal” of William Hill Online’s live dealer setup. Clearcast also noted that no one in the ad was actually shown gambling, so maybe GRASP should go picket a department store over their suggestive mannequins or something.
But the ASA overruled Clearcast, saying it had identified a “signal of attraction” in the initial shot of the dealer’s “engaging” eyes, a lingering feeling that intensified as the camera panned across the “sensual areas” of her body. Besides, the word ‘casino’ appeared both in the voiceover and in onscreen type, so it is a gambling ad and it makes men want to gamble and have sex with women. Which is totally contrary to the average man’s normal impulses. Totally.