Bingo Ads in the News
By: R. Kingsley, Friday August 22nd 2008
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Online bingo is competitive business and online bingo rooms advertise their products. As in other fields objections are raised from time to time about advertisements released by online bingo rooms. Two ads were in the news recently, one of which was found wanting and one that managed to get away.
A press ad released by Wink Bingo showed a nurse from a maternity ward standing next to a trolley holding surgical equipment and a laptop. The laptop read 'Wink Bingo Winner' and the nurse was rejoicing at her win in an online bingo game. In the background a lady was giving birth. The ad was captioned "Find the appropriate moment." The ad was created by Spacebar Media. According to the Advertising Standards Authority the ad was inappropriate. In its ruling the ASA said, "We acknowledged that the intention of the ad was to portray a real-life situation in a humorous way, but considered that the ad nonetheless showed a health-care professional ignoring a woman giving birth in order to play bingo online." But the ASA felt that the ad had violated its rules by depicting that gambling was being priority over professional commitments and would be interpreted as condoning gambling in the workplace. The breach was considered all the more serious because the workplace in the ad was a healthcare service organization. In its defense Spacebar Media said that it was maintaining the different image of Wink Bingo as being cheeky, irreverent, sassy and a bit naughty. It added that the ad did not portray a real world situation as was evident from the unrealistic props and wardrobe and that a midwife could be hiding behind a screen. However this line of reasoning cut no ice with the authorities. The ASA ruled that the ad could not appear again.
The second issue was more technical than conceptual. Foxy Bingo released a TV ad in which it mentioned a '£10 free offer' with no deposit required to induce players to sign up for the online bingo room. Liberal Democrat culture spokesman Don Foster MP claimed that use of the word 'free' was misleading because there were terms and conditions attached to the offer. The winnings from bingo cards purchased with the 'free £10' would be paid out only if there was a minimum of £30 in the player's Foxy Bingo account. Foster lodged a complaint with the ASA with the intent to get the ad banned. Cashcade, the company that owns Foxy Bingo replied that the offer allowed customers to play with £10 for free without the obligations of setting up an account. However to prevent players from withdrawing the £10 without playing and thus abusing the offer Foxy Bingo required players to have to have a minimum of £30 in their account. The ASA agreed with Cascade and said that the ad made the terms and conditions very clear that the £10 giveaway was just for game play and they allowed the ad to continue.
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