The UK lottery provider Camelot and its advertising agency AMV BBDO had to withdraw a provocative advertisement after a finding by the Advertising Standards Authority that it implied that bingo clubs in general were closing down and the industry was dying.
The Bingo Association lodged a complaint about the ad., which showed a woman on an electronic scooter driving past a drab-looking bingo hall with the doors padlocked. The ad, which promoted Camelot scratch cards, then erased the image in a scratchcard-like dynamic before switching to a view of the woman driving along a beachfront on a flashier vehicle, wearing designer gear and jewelry after scoring on the Camelot scratchcard product.
The Guardian newspaper reports that the Bingo Association complained to the ASA that the ad was both misleading and "denigratory," implying that bingo clubs were closed and that the industry was dying.
Camelot argued that the ad depicted an early morning scenario when most bingo clubs were closed, so it was possible that the woman depicted had bought a scratchcard because her bingo club was not open. They added that the advert showed a bingo club that was closed, not shut down in a business sense, and was intended to show that a scratchcard winner could upgrade his or her life.
However, an ASA panel rejected the argument, commenting that it was not clear from the ad what time of day it was, and the image of a padlock and chains, the "aged drab look" of the bingo hall and the disappointment of the woman gave the impression that the bingo club was "permanently closed".
"We also considered that those images implied that bingo clubs in general were closing down and the industry was dying," said the ASA. "We concluded that the ad was misleading and denigrated the bingo industry."
The ASA said the ad should not be broadcast again in its current form.