I was shocked to see Tombola are the latest online bingo site to fall foul of the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority). I find this one a bit mystifying and frankly a touch too far down the road of daft decisions. You can read the full ASA adjudication here, but it boils down to their whole brand identity being unsuitable for advertising on TV as it could be appealing to children.
Personally I’ve found Tombola advertising one of the least obnoxious bingo adverts on TV. But it would seem that Tombola’s fun Tombola World with its improbable roller coasters and fun 60s song is just that bit too much fun, despite it having been developed and cleared by Clearcast, the company responsible for clearing advertising as fit for TV.
I really feel sorry for Tombola over this decision, it’s frankly absurd and inconsistent. Foxy Bingo were cleared of the same complaint in July last year. It’s arguable that the colourful Foxy and the funky fun music is far more appealing to children than Tombola’s ads, which to my mind are quite dark carnivalé and sophisticated in comparison.
In fact, every only bingo site advertising on TV at the moment should be worried about this decision, as one thing it states is appealing to children is catchy and repetitive music. This seems to be a prerequisite for your run-of-the-mill bingo ad (along with colourful / fun elements). Once again the music for the Foxy ad that was passed was as
annoying catchy as the Tombola one.
What’s more, as a kid I would have loved a spin in one of Ladbroke Bingo’s big zorbs, or to be able to dance on the ceiling like Wink Bingo’s latest ad. Maybe they should expect a knock from the ASA soon? Even if these things had appealed to me as a child, I never have been able to get far when it comes to playing at the site as I wouldn’t have had the means to spend any money there. I really think this is one adjudication to far.
As for Tombola, what do they do next? Their whole identity and character is wrapped up in the balls. It will be difficult for them to advertise themselves now their image is ‘too appealing’. Maybe they should show their benign balls terrorising each other or committing acts of fantastical violence on their fellow Tombola World citizens? However, given my son’s love of Power Rangers and their ilk, this could be even more appealing again. What can you do?