In April of this year, Coral invested in some on-screen advertising for their football betting options. The commercial was created by Big Al’s Creative Emporium and featured a number of different clips of various footballers playing the game.
The voice over said:
The beautiful game, you can catch it or you can get involved in it with the latest Coral action. So are you a spectator or are you a player? You decide. Coral. Get in on the action.
It is the voiceover part that was the subject of two complaints because both felt that, in questioning whether someone was a spectator or a player, the implication was that gambling is better than watching the sport.
Of course, Coral responded to defend their commercial and said that the voiceover was simply asking the viewer if they wanted to place a bet as well as watch the match.
The question posed by the voiceover was then followed up with a specific bet feature. In the example shown below, this was the welcome offer for new customers at Coral.
They further defended the voice tone used stating that it was neither pushy or aggressive, and merely gave the viewer the opportunity to make an informed choice.
The ASA Ruling Against Coral
The ASA did not agree and felt that the overall tone of the commercial implied that gambling was more exciting that watching or participating in a game.
Although they accepted that the voiceover was neither pushy or aggressive, they did feel that the emphasis given to the term ‘player’ contributed to the overall impression.
Additionally, the ASA felt that the phrase ‘Get in on the action’ further enhanced the impression that it was better to gamble than to watch.
This led to the conclusion that the advert suggested peer pressure to gamble, disparaged abstention and intimated that gambling could enhance personal qualities. The advert was deemed to be in breach of the following BCAP Codes and was therefore banned.
Advertisements must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to the audience and to society.
Advertisements must not:
suggest peer pressure to gamble or disparage abstention
suggest that gambling can enhance personal qualities; for example, that it can improve self-image or self-esteem, or is a way to gain control, superiority, recognition or admiration