The self-regulatory organisation that monitors the UK advertising industry – Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) – imposed a ban on Bonne Terre Ltd t/a Sky Vegas. The ruling was made by the authority after a single complaint was filed against one of the ads circulating on Sky Vegas TV. The TV commercial was scrutinised by the watchdog and the case ended up with a ban imposed on the company for showing the advert in its current format.
According to the ruling of Advertising Standards Authority, the offensive TV ad breached BCAP Code 17.3.6 which says that commercials must not imply that gambling activities are able to increase personal qualities or could be used to gain superiority, control or admiration. The banned advert was part of a set of Sky Vegas commercials, and the complaint against it was related exactly to code 17.3.6.
The ad shows a close-up of a man, called Michael, wearing a pair of sunglasses, while a voice-over tells about his daily routine before he went to Sky Vegas. The voice-over also states that now the man is “the roulette rock star” after registering at the casino.
Of course, Bonne Terre t/a Las Vegas responded to the complaint, explaining that the entire intention of the commercial was to only illustrate the fact how entertaining the games offered in Sky Vegas were and to invite new people to consider registering its website.
In addition, the company revealed that some concerns associated with the term “roulette rock star” used in the ad had been raised by Clearcast who suggested this could break the BCAP code 17.3.6. The company also said this was exactly the reason why more prominence was granted to the visual effects in the ad and emphasises on the guitars and sunglasses in order to enhance the “rock star” term.
Advertising Standards Authority had noted that the person presented in the Bonne Terre t/a Sky Vegas’ commercial had a neutral expression on his face at the advert’s beginning while the audience was told about him doing his household chores. Then, the watchdog explained that the facial expression of the man, called “Michael” in the ad, changed to a satisfied smile at the end of the commercial, at the point when the voice-over explained he was now enjoying his game at Sky Vegas.
According to ASA’s assessment, the change in the person’s facial expressions and the fact that he continued smiling at the time when the voice-over described him as “the roulette rock star” is likely to be interpreted by the viewers as a reference to the effect that gambling at Sky Vegas could have on his personality. No physical transformation was depicted in the advert, but the watchdog ruled that the commercial showed a distinct change in the person’s appearance and said the advert breached BCAP Code rule 17.3.6.
Advertising Standards Authority also ruled that the ad must be broadcast no more in its current form and noted Bonne Terre t/a Sky Vegas to be more careful with its advertising.