SBC News ASA warns operators to ‘carefully reflect on ads’ during Euro 2024
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ASA warns operators to ‘carefully reflect on ads’ during Euro 2024

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has released a set of marketing tips that companies and gambling operators should follow for the 2024 Euros.

Firstly, the organisation advises to not ‘pad your stats’, stating that misleading endorsements ‘will not improve goal difference’.

The ASA explained: “Intellectual property in football is big business. Marketers will naturally want their brands to be associated with the likes of the National Teams and UEFA. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with this, falsely implying official endorsement is a likely breach of the Advertising Codes.” 

The authority has asserted that it takes into account the overall impression provided by the copy, including text, images, icons and symbols.

“So if you can’t walk the walk, avoid talking the talk,” it asserted. “If you have any doubt about the use of intellectual property, please consider seeking legal advice.”

Furthermore, the ASA has urged marketing teams to be mindful of courting too much controversy. The authority touched upon how the “hand of god” – Diego Maradona’s famous goal against England in the 1986 World Cup – was over 35 years ago, and marketers still reference it in their ads. 

“Controversy, glory, and misery have created many memorable ads, but marketers need to make sure they don’t go in two-footed and see red for it.”

Offensive stereotypes are still seen in ads, and the ASA warns that marketers should carefully reflect on ads that may portray racial, cultural or national stereotypes. 

“Though the overall tone of the ad will be considered, ‘it’s just banter’ is not an excuse to cross the line.”

Meanwhile, the authority also claimed that gambling ads related to football predate both the Euro’s and the World Cup, stating that marketers ‘shouldn’t hedge their bets’ with their ads. 

The CAP Code prohibits anyone under the age of 25 from appearing in most gambling ads, including footballers. 

Whilst there is an exception for websites where bets can be placed directly, the ASA encourages companies to ensure their ads don’t hit the wall by considering the advice available.  

Gambling ads must also all watch that any star players in the ads don’t have a strong appeal to U-18’s too.

“Don’t overdo it on the Man of the Match Champagne,” the body went on to warn. “Like gambling, there are a number of rules that apply to alcohol advertising – in particular, they cannot be directed at or reflect the culture of under-18s, nor can under-25s be shown playing a significant role.” 

The group also highlighted potential reasons to bench an ad including enhancing confidence or mental or physical capabilities, or endorsing excessive consumption.

Finally, during the competition, adverts must avoid showing behaviour that condones or encourages violence or anti-social behaviour. 

Referencing the ‘infamous headbutt’ in 2006, the ASA concluded: “We take ads that depict violence seriously. Other ads that may incur more than a points reduction include ads that depict vandalism, objectification or other anti-social behaviour.”

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