An online ad for Littlewoods casino and pools websites featuring cartoon superhero Spiderman has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.
The ad used images of Spiderman to drive traffic to the website onlinegamblerweb. com, which had been created by Future Publishing in partnership with Littlewoods.
The ASA says the use of the character breached rules governing ads that appealed to under-18s, and ordered it not to be used again.
But Littlewoods said it had been running a similar “Marvel Hero” campaign since 2005 and was not aware of any other complaints. It also claimed several other companies in the gaming industry used branded games such as Spiderman to appeal to responsible gamblers over the age of 18 years.
The ASA says although the ruling only relates to the single ad, it “sets a bar” in relation to similar executions.
• The ASA has banned an ad for easyJet because it made misleading environmental claims. The national press ad made the claim that “easyJet emits 22% less CO2” than other carriers. But the claim was based on emissions per passenger, and relied on the fact that easyJet planes carried more passengers. The ASA says the claim is in breach of the code.
• Virgin has also been rapped, over broadband speed claims in a national press ad, following a complaint from rival BT. The ad listed download times for TV shows and songs according to broadband speed, but BT said Virgin’s Traffic Management Policy capped speeds during peak hours, so the speeds in the ad are misleading.
The ASA says the ad did not make the time restrictions clear.