The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in a recent adjudication banned a TV advertisement for implying that playing bingo could result in enhanced attractiveness and an improvement in self-image. The decision came after the Gambling Reform & Society Perception Group (GRASP) challenged whether the TV ad for News Promotions Limited's Fabulous Bingo game irresponsibly linked gambling to seduction, sexual success and enhanced attractiveness.
The ad featured a dowdy looking woman who, after joining Fabulous Bingo via her laptop, was showered in confetti and transformed into bright clothing with a fancy hairstyle and make-up. The voiceover said: "Join today and feel Fabulous in a click at fabulousbingo.co.uk".
The ASA rejected News Promotions Limited's response that the transformation - a recurring theme of the brand's ads - was associated with the Fabulous brand and not a result of gambling. Clearcast supported News Promotions' assertions and said that viewers were used to the style of ad and accepted it as humorous advertising frippery.
The ASA did not agree with these assertions. Whilst the ASA rejected GRASP's challenge that the ad implied an increased likelihood of seduction and sexual success, it did find that the ad directly linked the online bingo game with enhanced attractiveness and concluded that it breached Rules 17.3.6 and 17.3.7 of the BCAP Code. These rules state that advertisements must not suggest that gambling can enhance personal qualities; for example, that it can improve self-image or self-esteem, or is a way to gain control, superiority, recognition or admiration (Rule 17.3.6) nor link gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness (Rule 17.3.7). The ad must not appear again in its current form.