A TV ad for Ladbrokes has been banned for depicting socially irresponsible gambling behaviour.
The ad, seen in April, began with a voiceover that stated: “I’m a nodder: up to the football, down to the app like a dog on a dashboard.”
The next scene showed a man at a train station who appeared to be using the Ladbrokes app on his phone, and an accompanying voiceover that said: “When I bet, I’m a frustrated manager. I kick every ball,” while a third scene showed three men jumping and screaming after a goal was scored and then tense and nervous as it was reviewed by the VAR (video assistant referee).
A complainant, who believed that the ad portrayed people who appeared to be addicted to gambling, challenged whether the ad depicted behaviour that was socially irresponsible.
Ladbrokes said none of the scenes depicted behaviour that guidance highlighted as indicators of problem gambling.
It also said the ad did not suggest solitary gambling was preferable to social gambling, depict gambling in the workplace, or suggest that it was an escape from problems or a solution to financial concerns.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the man in the first scene appeared to be continually placing bets rather than being focused on the game itself and as such appeared to have a preoccupation with his betting, while the second scene depicted a man who appeared to be detached from his surroundings and who had a preoccupation with gambling.
The voiceover that accompanied the third scene stated: “If I’ve got an acca (accumulator) coming in, I find myself getting very excited,” and the ASA said it considered viewers would interpret this to mean that the men’s excitement was coming from potentially winning an accumulator, rather than the football.
The ASA added: “We considered that mood swings related to gambling was a problem gambling behaviour. Because the ad appeared to depict a major mood swing and directly related it to the tension of potentially winning an accumulator, rather than just watching sports, we considered that the ad depicted problem gambling behaviour.
“For those reasons, we concluded that the ad depicted gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible, and therefore breached the code.”
The ASA told Ladbrokes “to ensure future ads did not depict gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible, including problem gambling behaviour such as detachment from surroundings, mood swings, and preoccupation with gambling”.