Fabulous Bingo has become the latest UK gaming website to feel the wrath of UK advertising regulator the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The TV ad for Fabulous Magazine’s bingo website (above) in which a woman’s drab clothing and appearance are magically transformed into “bright clothing with a fancy hairstyle and make-up” after she signs up, was banned today after the ASA ruled it irresponsibly linked gambling with enhanced attractiveness.
Fabulous Bingo is a white-label skin run by Jackpotjoy owner Gamesys on behalf of News International subsidiary News Promotions.
Today’s decision follows The Gambling Reform & Society Perception Group (GRASP) questioning whether the ad breached ASA codes by irresponsibly linking gambling to seduction, sexual success and enhanced attractiveness.
Fabulous Bingo’s parent company, News International subsidiary News Promotions, argued that the two actresses in the ad had been the faces of the Fabulous brand since March 2011 and that a transformation triggered by a promoted beauty product had been a recurring theme in ads since then, so viewers would associate the particular transformation in question with the Fabulous brand itself and not with the bingo. News Promotions also disputed that the ad linked gambling to sexual success or seduction, pointing out there was no dialogue or flirtation between the two women shown in the café and the waiter, and their clothing was not revealing. The company also argued that while the woman changed into more attractive clothing after pressing the return key on her laptop, she was not shown as more attractive than her non bingo-playing friend.
The ASA however argued that the average viewer would not be aware that the previous theme for Fabulous ads, and would therefore see the transformation solely down to signing up to the bingo website. Further, said the advertising body, the “overt transformation from dowdy to glamorous through playing the branded bingo game” implied that “playing the branded bingo game could result in enhanced attractiveness and an improvement in self-image.”
The ad should not appear again in its current form, ruled the ASA.