According to the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) official press release, the popular gambling brand Ladbrokes failed to comply with the new gambling guidelines by promoting a tweet that could appeal to minors.

Protecting minors:

According to the updated guidelines, brands are prohibited from appealing to minors in any way, including all social media marketing strategies. 

In February, Ladbrokes posted a tweet that the ASA found problematic since it included a picture of the famous Youtuber and boxer Jake Paul. The tweet was shared only a day after Tommy Furry won the boxing match against Paul.

In the caption, the company wrote: “[Boxing glove emoji] @TommyTNTFury beat @JakePaul by split decision last night. So, we’ve got to ask the question… What’s next for Jake Paul? Vote here now [downward pointing finger emoji].”

The company claims that the ad targeted 25 years old and older users, and the ad got 16.494 impressions. Users between 20 and 29 years old were 47.1% of the total number of impressions.

The Committee of Advertising Practice’s (CAP) Code is very clear: all marketing communications have to be directed towards adults while promoting ads that can possibly appeal to minors is strictly prohibited

New guidelines and old violations:

New guidelines were released in October 2022, and were among the first companies that violated them. The previous violation occurred in December when a similar tweet was published. The previous tweet features football stars Phillippe Coutinho, Jesse Lingard, and Kalidou Koulibaly, and the ad was banned for the same reason as the new one.

Twitter is a platform used by many people under 18, and there is a possibility that they will be able to see the ad despite the company’s efforts. One more reason to believe that the ad would be appealing to minors lies in the fact that Jake Paul is very popular among young people since, apart from being a boxer, he is also a YouTuber and Disney star. However, the company claims that his follower demographics and previous partnerships and sponsorships were checked and evaluated before the tweet was shared.

The ASA invested a lot of effort to make the audience believe in ads once again. After the research that was conducted in January, which included 2.983 adults from the UK, the results were encouraging: even 80% of people said that they believe more in the ads since the regulator changed the regulations and started a new campaign. In a report released by the ASA and Advertising Association (AA) in May, 50% of the ones who saw the campaign were more receptive to the ads in general.

Stephen Woodford, CEO of AA, said: “The public is our most important customer, and we are committed to taking long-term action to rebuild the public’s trust in advertising.”