New Decisions: Gambling ads, internet safety and more

The following decisions have been released to the ASA website:

Gambling ad breached code with use of language associated with addiction

The TAB advertisements were two separate emails promoting various gambling options.
Advertisement 1 was an email titled “Weekend Highlights” and promoted different sports and betting options available in the coming week. The Greyhound section of the advertisement says “Two meetings today to get your chasing fix.”
Advertisement 2 was an email titled “Here is a Top Up Bonus offer specifically for you!” and was a personalised email that said “Simply make one deposit of $ or more into your TAB account.” The offer gave the customer a time period and then said “and we will load your account with a $50 Bonus Bet. How good?!”

The Complainant was concerned the Advertisement 1 was socially irresponsible as the term “chasing fix” encouraged gambling in excess. The Complainant was concerned Advertisement 2 was misleading as the advertisement did not state the amount the customer needed to deposit to receive the Top Up Bonus and claimed the offer was specifically for the customer.

Advertisement 1 was Upheld in relation to the use of the word “fix” and Not Upheld in relation to the use of the word “chasing.” The Complaints Board agreed “chasing” did not meet the threshold to condone or encourage harm in context with greyhound racing where the dogs chase a lure. Considering the use of the word “fix”, the Board said a common definition of a ‘fix’ is to temporarily satisfy an addiction and it can also be associated with simulating a ‘high’ or ‘rush’. The Board said linking gambling in any way with the language of addiction was a breach of the Gambling Advertising Code.

Advertisement 2 was Settled in relation to the omission of minimum deposit information and Not Upheld in relation to the “specifically for you” claim and the use of the words “So Good?!”.

Complaints Board rules on internet safety advertisement

The Department of Internal Affairs television advertisement shows a girl watching an online cartoon video called “Rabbit Birthday Party”. A live enactment of what she is watching appears on the lawn outside the house. Two people in rabbit costumes are sitting at a table with a big sign saying: “Happy Birthday”. When the girl clicks on another “Suggested for you” video called “Rabbit Hunting Party” a hunter appears outside and shoots at the rabbits, hitting the birthday cake. The girl, who is still indoors watching her device, is upset. The voice-over then says “Kids can go from safe places to scary places in just a few clicks. Keep it real online. Get help and advice at:”.

The Advertising Standards Authority received 45 complaints. Issues included the content was inappropriate for children to see, it portrayed hunters and rabbit hunting in a bad light and it depicted unsafe firearm practices.

The Complaints Board agreed the advertisement fell under the category of advocacy advertising and said the scene with the humans dressed as rabbits was obviously a fantasy scenario and the intended audience would understand this. The Board said the advertisement did not target children but was placed in programming for audiences over 13 and targeted at adults.

The majority of the Complaints Board said the advertisement was socially responsible as the content (including the use of a firearm) and placement of the advertisement was justifiable on educational grounds to address children accessing inappropriate content online. The minority said the portrayal of a person pointing and firing a gun at two people in costumes in a suburban front garden was an unsafe practice and was not justifiable, even for an advocacy advertisement.

The Complaints Board ruled the complaints were Not Upheld.