In October 2015 Betfair ran a marketing campaign via a television commercial that offered ‘enhanced prices on the big match’.
The commercial showed a man reading a message on his mobile whilst at a football match, the message read “Man UTD win 3-1, you win £120’. During the advert the following text also appeared:
New customer enhanced price. Liverpool v Rubin Kazan to win 4/1".
£10 max stake on stated bet, winnings paid in cash, enhanced winnings paid in free bets within 24 hours, multiple bets excluded.
You can view the banned commercial by clicking the image below. It is worth noting that the advert may be removed from their YouTube channel soon because of the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) ruling.
There was just one complaint received about the commercial and this viewer believed that the advertising was misleading. The complainant felt that Betfair has not been clear that the winnings from an enhanced bet were paid on free bets.
This led the ASA to investigate under the following three CAP Codes:
Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Advertisements must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify.
Advertisements must not mislead consumers by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that consumers need in context to make informed decisions about whether or how to buy a product or service. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead consumers depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the advertisement is constrained by time or space, the measures that the advertiser takes to make that information available to consumers by other means.
Betfair duly responded to the complaint explaining that the promotion offered their new customers an enhanced 4/1 prize with winnings added as free bets.
They continued by explaining the semantics of the offer and stated that the on-screen text of the commercial said “winnings paid in cash, enhanced winnings paid in free bets” which the believed contained all the pertinent information about the offer.
Clearcast responded in the same way.
The ASA didn’t see things in quite the same way. They looked at the fact that there were two elements to the bet with different odds for each part.
The cash element of the bet would be paid out on the market odds at the time of the bet whilst the free bet tokens were awarded on the difference between the market odds and the enhanced bet.
More details of the ruling can be found on the ASA website here.
The ASA believed that it wasn’t clear enough in the commercial and as such, found the advert to be in breach of the CAP Codes shown above.
Therefore the advert must not appear in its current form again and Betfair were told to ensure that all future commercials made it clear that the enhanced odds element of the bet placed would be paid in free bets.