Do Have A Cow, Says UK Ad Regulator

March 13, 2024
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Realistic cows and a footballer known as “The Beast” have received differing verdicts from the UK’s advertising regulator.
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Realistic cows and a footballer known as “The Beast” have received differing verdicts from the UK’s advertising regulator.

An advert for Lucky Cow Bingo featuring a photo-realistic cow dancing on its hind legs was not likely to appeal to children, said the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as part of a new pair of rulings released today (March 13).

The ad regulator dismissed a complaint against the bingo operator, which had alleged the marketing was likely to be of strong appeal to under-18s.

The ASA said it acknowledged that the cow was not created in a cartoon style and even though it was “unusual and whimsical” it did not resemble content created for children.

“While the bright colours in the ad and the dancing cow could appeal to some children or young persons, given the overall presentation of the character, on balance we concluded that the ad was not likely to have strong appeal to under-18s.”

Meanwhile an ad featuring retired cult football star Adebayo Akinfenwa was banned by the regulator over its likely strong appeal to underage gamblers.

Akinfenwa achieved celebrity status due to his unusual size and strength, despite never playing in the higher tiers of English professional football.

He appeared in a recent radio ad for BetUK, advertising the website’s responsible gambling tools. The site is run by LeoVegas, which is a part of US-headquartered MGM Resorts.

The ASA said that although lower league footballers are generally considered to be of low risk to under-18s, Akinfenwa’s rare cult status made him an exception.

Evidence submitted by LeoVegas revealed that he had at least 157,000 followers who are under 18 years old, on social media platforms that allowed age-based reporting.

“We considered that over 157,000 followers aged under 18 years, with the true total figure likely higher due to the absence of data for the other social media platforms, was a significant number in absolute terms,” said the ASA.

The radio spot cannot be run again and LeoVegas was warned to ensure it is not using persons or characters with strong appeal to those under the age of 18 in future advertising.

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