It always amazes us how just one complaint to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA)can result in a ban for a bingo commercial or marketing campaign that may have cost thousands to create. However, recently it was GRASP (The Gambling Reform and Society Perception Group) who were the complainants, this time about a poster on a side of a bus from Wink Bingo.
The offending Wink Bingo poster featured the Dream Idols and their naked torsos and GRASP challenged whether this linked gambling to seduction and enhanced attractiveness.
The complaint led to the ASA investigating under CAP code 16.3.8 Marketing communications must not ‘link gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness‘. The Assessment found that the advert was not in breach and therefore the complaint was not upheld meaning no further action was required by the company.
The Gambling Reform and Society Perception group was formed in 2010 and is a non-profit organisation whose aim is to ‘raise awareness of problem gambling and restrict the damage being done to the young, vulnerable, family members and society from this insidious addiction’.
An interesting statement on the official page states that ‘GRASP are not anti-gambling, we’re anti problem gambling, because gambling addiction is not a choice, addictive behaviours are a manifestation of the disease, not a cause.’
The forum of GRASP has a thread dedicated to gambling advertising that asks users to submit details of any adverts they may feel flout the rules of the ASA and post links to upheld complaints. Previous successful complaints include one about the Fabulous Bingo commercial and another for a Supercasino advert.
Incidentally, GRASP was founded by none other than David Bowerman, a man who stole £5 million from friends and family to feed his gambling addiction.
This is not the first or last time that bingo adverts are going to come underfire, you can read about some of the other rulings on our Advertising Standards Agency Bingo Rulings page.
By: Nickie Shute