William Hill ad banned for linking gambling to seduction

A William Hill TV ad showing “sensual areas” of a female casino croupier’s body has been banned by the ad watchdog for linking gambling to seduction.

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The ad, for William Hill Live opened with a close-up of a woman who opened her eyes and looked at the camera, which then panned down past her chest to a roulette wheel, a pack of playing cards and gambling chips. A voiceover stated “experience a live casino like no other” while the creative featured several female casino croupiers in gold basque-type tops and male croupiers wearing suits.

The ad prompted The Gambling Reform and Society Perception Group (GRASP) and one other viewer to complain the spot linked gambling to seduction.

William Hill said the ad did not make any claims or connotations that gambling increased consumers’ sexual success or attractiveness, nor link gambling to seduction. It said all the uniforms shown were “tasteful, professional and reflected the feedback” from [a London Mayfair casino’s] staff.

Broadcast clearing body Clearcast said because the ad did not show anyone gambling there could be no link to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the focus on the eyes in the first scene of the ad could be interpreted as a “signal of attraction”. Furthermore, the choice to show “sensual areas” of the female croupier’s body enhanced the sense of seduction.

The ASA disagreed with Clearcast, saying the voice-over and on-screen text references to “casino” and the roulette visuals identified it as a gambling ad.

Elsewhere, a TV ad for Coral was broadcast nine times between 6.42am and 8.42am during children’s programmes on Turner’s Cartoon Network and Boomerang channels.

Turner Broadcasting “apologised unreservedly” for the error, which was due to a booking number being “erroneously allocated” to the ad. Coral Group said it was “horrified” its ad was viewed on children’s channels and after being notified of the error instigated an investigation, notified regulatory authorities in the UK in Gibraltar and suspended all other ads due to be aired by Turner that weekend.

The ASA told Turner to ensure it had failsafe processes and procedures in place to ensure gambling ads were never broadcast in or adjacent to programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal to audiences below the age of 18 years.

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