The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has pulled a Betway advert after it was deemed to be in breach of advertising regulations.
The advert in question, which was shown on 19 October 2019, was challenged after it featured 20 year old England footballer Declan Rice. Under current advertising regulations, betting operators are prohibited from featuring under-25s which play a ‘significant role’ in adverts.
Appearing on YouTube, the advert showed West Ham’s club captain Mark Noble carrying out a fake clamping of Rice’s Range Rover while feeding lines to an actor posing as a traffic warden.
In the video, the footballers wore West Ham shirts which featured the Betway logo, ending with the Betway logo, a ‘Heed Your Hunch’ tagline followed by a GambleAware message.
In response to the ruling, Betway said that they did not consider the YouTube video to be an ad or to contain promotional content, and therefore did not believe it to be a marketing communication for the purposes of the CAP Code, but rather was considered to be ‘editorial content.’
Betway argued that Rice did not feature in the video in a sporting context, nor did the advert ‘refer to a specific market, odds or promotions and that there was no link to the Betway website where a bet could be placed’.
The ASA ruled: “We noted that the YouTube video appeared on the Betway YouTube channel and featured sportsmen who consumers would be able to place bets on in the future and wearing football shirts with a prominent Betway logo.
“The ad ended with the brand name “Betway” followed by the claim “bet the responsible way. 18+ begambleaware.org”. We therefore considered that the video was promoting the Betway brand.
“The ad also featured the claim “HEED YOUR HUNCH”, which we considered encouraged consumers to think about placing a bet. For those reasons we considered the YouTube video was directly connected with the supply of Betway’s services and was therefore within the remit of the CAP Code.
“The YouTube video featured Declan Rice for the duration of the five-minute video, and we accordingly considered that he had played a significant role in the video. We also understood that Declan Rice was 20 years old. Because Declan Rice was under the age of 25, and played a significant role in the ad, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.”