Sam Gowland, a reality TV star, was scolded by the British advertising watchdog for breaching advertising rules. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found that Mr Gowland has violated the country’s advertising rules by sharing that a locally-offered betting service had helped him pay for his new automobile. He had also posted a link to the betting website on his official Instagram page.
The person who filed the complaint with the ASA saw an Instagram story in which Gowland, who is a former Love Island contestant, promoted Thebettingman website to his followers, saying it could help them make money. Apart from that, the TV reality star described the aforementioned website as the best source of income he had ever had and explained that the service offered by TBM Enterprises/Thebettingman helped him pay for his new automobile.
The story, which was seen by the complainant on June 2nd, 2020, had a swipe up option that took users to Thebettingman’s domain that invited people to join its service.
The person, who filed the complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority, challenged whether the advert could be categorised as a marketing communication beyond doubt. On the other hand, the UK advertising regulator challenged whether the advert was irresponsible on one hand, because it suggested that betting tipster services could be used as a way of achieving financial stability, and on the other hand, because the ad featured a person under the age of 25 to promote a gambling advice service.
The company proving the betting tipster advice website responded to the accusations, saying that it did not approach Mr Gowland asking him to post the story on Instagram and to promote its service, respectively. It, however, admitted that the post should have been marked with an “ad” label and should have included a clear indication that the promoted product is not appropriate for underage individuals.
The reality TV star, on the other hand, said that the ad was uploaded as a promotional post. Mr Gowland further explained that he had subsequently made himself acquainted with the advertising gambling regulator’s guidance, so he would make sure he puts an identifier hashtag #ad in similar posts from now on.
Thebettingman Ad Breached Several CAP Code Rules, Watchdog Says
The Advertising Standards Authority investigated the ad and found it to be in breach of certain regulatory rules.
As it reminded, under the CAP Code, companies are required to make sure their marketing communications are labeled as such. So, by publishing a story promoting the tipster service of Thebettingman, Sam Gowland actually violated the Code, as he had not made it clear to his followers that the post was an advert. On that point, the ASA found that the ad breached CAP Code rules 2.1 and 2.3 associated with marketing communications’ recognition.
As the UK advertising authority explained, the gambling advice service offered by Thebettingman was based on subscription. Furthermore, the service itself was not gambling, although it would expose its consumers to such services. However, in his Instagram story, Mr Gowland implied that the service could help users to regularly generate large sums of money that could make it a way to guarantee financial stability. This is why the ASA ruled that the ad violated CAP Code rule 1.3 associated with social responsibility.
The advertising watchdog further explained that at the time the ad was seen, Mr Gowland was 24 years old. Despite the service itself is not gambling but facilitates a gambling advice service, it should have not featured a young person under the age of 25. On that point, the ASA said that the ad was irresponsible as it violated CAP Code rule 1.3.
The ASA noted that the ad must not appear in its current form anymore. The regulatory body also reminded both the company and Sam Gowland that they must make sure that any future marketing communications are marked as such, and no more individuals under 25 years of age promote the gambling advice service offered by Thebettingman.