Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Camelot Ad Canned

The Advertising Standards Authority has quelched an ad for a scratch-off lottery card promoted by Camelot, the folks who run the British National Lottery. The Bingo Association complained to the ASA that the ad unfairly denigrated the image of bingo halls, making them look dingy and unappealing. The ASA agreed.

The Bingo Association objected that the ad was misleading and denigratory, because it implied that bingo clubs generally were closed and that bingo clubs were a 'dying' industry.

Camelot Group (Camelot) said the ad was intended to highlight that a winner of a National Lottery scratchcard could 'upgrade' a particular aspect of their life. They believed the ad did not imply that bingo halls generally were closed or that bingo clubs were a dying industry. They said they understood that most bingo clubs did not open before 10.00 and often not until 10.30 or later. They said bingo clubs were not open 24 hours a day but, in contrast, National Lottery scratchcards could be purchased 24 hours a day from many outlets and customers could therefore purchase a scratchcard early in the morning when their bingo club was likely to be closed.

The ASA noted the sign outside the bingo hall stated "Closed", not "Closed down", and posters outside the bingo hall mentioned the prizes that could be won. We also noted Camelots argument that the ad was shot in the early morning and therefore outside a bingo halls normal operating hours.  We considered, however, that it was not clear from the ad what time of day it was and it would not be obvious to viewers that it was intended to represent the early morning. We also considered that the padlock and chains around the door, in conjunction with the "Closed" sign, the aged drab look of the bingo hall and the sound of the woman tutting, gave the impression that the bingo club was closed permanently, not that it was merely closed because of the time of day. We also considered that those images implied that bingo clubs in general were closing down and the industry was dying. We concluded that the ad was misleading and denigrated the bingo industry.

The ad breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 5.1 (Misleading advertising), 5.4.3 (Denigration) and 5.4.6 (Comparative advertising).


The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.

Read the entire ruling here.

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