The UK advertising watchdog has found that a tweet for William Hill made by retired footballer Robbie Savage does not have a strong appeal to children.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it identified the advert using its monitoring system, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to proactively search for online ads that might break the rules.
This is the third gambling advert this month identified by the AI system for potentially appealing to people under the age of 18.
Earlier in August an online ad featuring tennis stars Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal was picked up by the monitoring system and ruled to be non-compliant.
Robbie Savage’s promoted tweet for William Hill, which is a subsidiary of 888 Holdings, was posted on February 10, 2023 and expressed an opinion that Leeds United would be relegated.
A video link was also provided, with a clip of Savage discussing Leeds United’s relegation prospects. The video featured William Hill’s logo intermittently and the BeGambleAware logo. The text at the end of the clip stated: “It’s who you play with. William Hill”.
The ASA challenged whether the ad included an individual who was likely to be of strong appeal to people under 18 years old.
William Hill explained that prior to the introduction of the revised CAP Code rules, which came into effect on October 1, 2022, it carried out an analysis of personalities who featured in their advertising. This review has been repeated periodically and for new personalities in light of the new CAP guidance.
The operator said the tweet had been targeted at 25- to 49-year-olds who followed the Leeds United and Sky Sports accounts.
William Hill also cited previous ASA rulings where the authority had accepted that a former professional footballer whose career had ended many years previously did not have strong appeal to children.
Savage, a brand ambassador for William Hill since 2010, is 48 years old and last played for a top-flight club 15 years ago.
As a retired footballer now known for punditry, the ASA believed he falls within the “low risk” category of strong appeal to children.
William Hill also provided Savage’s audience demographic for his social media accounts, which showed that 2 percent of his Instagram followers, 5 percent of his Facebook followers and 0.1 percent of his Twitter followers were aged under 18.
Savage’s previous appearances on reality show Strictly Come Dancing were also deemed not likely to have increased his appeal to young people.
Twitter said the ad did not breach any of its current policies and it has not received any complaints about it, according to the ASA.