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Email ad campaign featuring a young woman disallowed

September 30, 2009 2009

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned Betfair’s email advertising campaign, featuring a photograph of a young woman.

The text in the ad for an online poker site stated: “online experience is measured in games, not years. Join The New Breed. Annette Obrestad – “ANNETTE_15”.” The complainant objected that the ad was irresponsible, because it might encourage children and young people to gamble. The ASA challenged whether the ad breached the gambling provisions of the Code, because it was understood Annette Obrestad was 20 years of age.

Betfair clarified that the ad didn’t target their marketing at under 18-year-olds. The e-mail was distributed to people who had registered with Lucky Lotto. To register there, users had to give their date of birth, and Betfair’s arrangement with Lucky Lotto was that the e-mail would only be distributed to people who had confirmed they were over 18 years old. Also, Obrestad was featured in the ad not because of her age but because of her standing as a poker professional and champion who had had a profound effect on the game.

According to the ASA, the Code stated that marketing communications should not be likely to be of particular appeal to children or young persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture. Also, the text implied that Obrestad was even younger than she was (aged 20). Because of that, it concluded the ad was likely to have particular appeal to children and young people.

The ASA conveyed Betfair to ensure that no one who was, or seemed to be, under 25 years old appeared gambling or playing a significant role in their ads going forward.


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