For the most part, when the ASA publish a ruling we’re in agreement but every now and again we’re left scratching our heads and wondering ‘why?’. This is certainly the case on a recent upheld complaint about the BeGambleAware ‘Voices’ campaign using online bingo as the gambling example. If you read our original article about the Gamble Aware campaign here, you will see that we were really impressed.
Whilst we might have been impressed, a cinema goer was not and was so ‘offended’ by the clip that they took the time to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The complainant (which can be read along with the ruling here) felt that the male character came across as sexually abusive and predatory and for this reason, was offended by it.
Hard Hitting Campaign From BeGambleAware
As far as we were aware, the whole point was to make people feel a little uncomfortable, to have some understanding of how the person in the grips of an addiction might feel. For us, the emotions of the woman in the clip were palpable and as gamblers (although responsible ones), we understood how she felt.
The advert wasn’t trying to sell perfume, a car or any other luxury item, it was trying to highlight the risks of gambling and promote the go to place if you are concerned about your gambling habits, or anyone around you.
Having spoken to a few people, many did feel that the man in the commercial came across as a ‘creepy sex offender’ and when questioned further, it was the wording being used and the fact that the word winner, in comparison with the other version of the advert, was not mentioned for quite some time.
It’s only when you look back at the advert with a different perspective that you can see how it could be perceived by a viewer.
A Change To Be Made
Other feedback was that if the male in the advert was replaced with a female, or the female was 20 years older, the feeling would have been much different. Could BeGambleAware make a change to the main characters and relaunch and if so, would it be as hard hitting?
However, what did make us chuckle was the the complaint received by the ASA was made about the advert shown in the cinema. It was only shown in cinemas before Trainspotting 2, an 18 rated film about drug abuse!
The offending advert can be seen below, just click the image: