Littlewoods successful in fighting advert ban

The possible ban of a Littlewoods Bingo television advertisement by the UK Advertising Standards Authority has been averted by the company's spirited defence of its position last week.

Following a single public complaint that the advertisement implied that players could win large sums of money on several occasions, Littlewoods and its white label supplier St Minver backed their advertised claim with hard facts and numbers, causing the ASA to reject the complaint and permit the continued broadcast of the advert.

The TV ad showed animated bingo balls moving against a green background intercut with shots of two women at computer screens chatting to each other via the Littlewoods bingo chat room. The voice-over stated "Littlewoods football pools has brought billions to millions, now we bring you bingo. Come and join the fun … Littlewoods Bingo is the name you can trust to pay out big style, with hundreds of winners and tens of thousands in prizes every single day. You can even chat and gossip in our big mates chat room … ". The shot cut to a woman in front of a computer screen. Text on the computer screen stated "Leanne: What did you just win? Kate: GBP 500 … again X"."

In its final ruling, the ASA dismissed the complaint, saying: "Clearcast said they did not consider the ad misleading because St Minver Ltd had supported the claims made for the number and amount of the payouts. They said the aim of the ad was to set out how much could be won each day, and they did not consider the brief inclusion of the text on the computer screen would mislead viewers about the frequency of winnings."

Equinox Film and TV Production developed and produced the advertisement.

This is the second time this year that Littlewoods has had to defend itself in ASA issues. In July 2008 a complainant challenged the company's Internet advert for "The Amazing Spiderman 25 Line Jackpot Slot" (see previous InfoPowa report). On that occasion the complaint - that the advert was irresponsible because it was likely to appeal to the underaged - was upheld on grounds that marketing communications for gambling should be socially responsible and should not be of particular appeal to children or young persons, especially be reflecting or being associated with youth culture. The authority ruled that Spiderman was likely to have particular appeal to children and young people, and the ad therefore breached the code and was withdrawn.

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