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ASA upholds complaint against ambiguous William Hill advert

William Hill has been told “to make significant conditions to offers in their ads clear, and to ensure that they do not contradict the claims they qualified” by the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA).

Reacting to a complaint made regarding a television advertisement in September of last year, a complainant challenged whether certain conditions of a promotion relating to horse racing were made sufficiently clear, and prominently included in its main body.

The advert revolves around the ‘2 Clear’ promotion, giving players a 15% free bet bonus if their horse wins by two lengths or more in any live ITV flat race featuring six or more runners.

During the course of the ad it was stated the terms “free bet bonus” and “Live ITV Flat Races” flashed on screen as references, while small text at the bottom of the screen noted “Selected UK flat races. 6+ runners.”

In its response William Hill detailed that they understood the concern of the complain, but after having reviewed the promotion, concluded that consumers would be well informed of its requirements.

Detailing the small print at the bottom of the ad the firm stated it was included to “underline that it covered live races only, not all races,” and dismised the potential of the withdrawal of multiple horses to be a rare occurrence.

In its assessment the independent review recognised the on-screen text detailing qualification to the offer, but considered featured terms, such as “bet on any live ITV flat race” and “available on all live ITV flat races” contradictory.

Adding: “We noted it was common in flat horse races for runners to drop out right up until the beginning of the race.

“We understood there would be instances where a consumer might decide to place a bet on a race, and not know until the start of the race that their bet would no longer be eligible for the bonus as the race no longer had the requisite amount of runners.

“We considered that this was a significant qualification that should have been prominently included in the main body of the ad and that it was not sufficiently clear for it to be presented in the small text at the bottom of the screen.”

The ad in question must not appear in its current form again, while a reminder to ensure conditions relating to offers are clear and do not contradict qualification claims, was also issued.

The ASA also investigated, and dismissed, two claims against gambling website playojo.com, regarding a paid-for Facebook advertisement.

Featuring a anime style image of a woman wearing a low-cut top and texts regarding offers with a “learn more” link at the bottom, the appeal to under-18s and misleading nature of the offer, due to no terms and conditions being featured, was questioned.

In its defence, PlayOjo stated the ad was part of a targeted campaign with the 18+ feature selected, with the offer clearly stated within the ad and in further detail via the featured link.

Considering the evidence the ASA didn’t uphold the complaint and found no breaches in either case.

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