More proof that the British advertising authorities are keeping a very close eye on the newly liberated television gambling advertisments scene was afforded this week when the Advertising Standards Authority rejected an online bingo advert from gambling group William Hill plc.
The company was told that seven complaints had been received regarding its latest advert, alleging that it is socially irresponsible.
The ad opens with a man and wife in the kitchen at breakfast time, with the women resorting to various subterfuges to pack the man off to work so that she can hurry back upstairs, log-on and indulge her hidden passion for online bingo. She continues to play online bingo and move the hands of a clock back, commenting "…doesn't time fly!"
The ad was banned by Advertising Standards Authority on the grounds that it portrayed and condoned gambling behaviour that was socially irresponsible and could lead to financial, social or emotional harm.
The Guardian newspaper reports that some viewers objecting that the ad was harmful because it "depicted someone who was addicted to gambling and was attempting to hide that from their family by deception".
Responding to the criticism, William Hill said that the ad was a "humorous" look at the "everyday scenario of a woman wanting to get on with her day once her husband had left the house, punctuated by taking a break to play bingo". The company claimed that the woman's behaviour was "…light-hearted and did not portray, condone or encourage socially irresponsible behaviour or behaviour that could lead to financial, social or emotional harm".
However, the ASA said the clock-changing and comment "I get mine the minute he has left" implied that the woman was "desperate to play bingo and was either unable to wait any longer or wanted to keep that secret from her husband".
The fact that the woman was rushing to play online bingo while still in her pyjamas, and moving the clock back to give her more time to play, "implied that she had to play urgently, rather than during a break in her day".
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