The Advertising Standards Authority Rules Against New Ladbrokes Tweets

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against Ladbrokes, raising concerns about whether featuring tennis players in promotional tweets might attract individuals under the age of 18.

The tweets, numbering four were posted by Ladbrokes in January and February of this year. They featured pictures of tennis players Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Nick Kyrgios and were related to the Australian Open Men's tournament. Two tweets contained polls, while the other two mentioned Djokovic's performance in the tournament.

ASA questioned whether the inclusion of tennis players in the advertisements would attract individuals under 18 years old.

Related: ASA bans Ladbrokes tweets featuring Jake Paul.

Ladbrokes Rationale behind the Tweets

In its defense, Ladbrokes stated that the tweets were designed to be "editorial content." Although it acknowledged that the tweets mentioned widely recognized sports figures, Ladbrokes explained that it assessed the media profiles, follower demographics, and sponsorship partnerships of each player to confirm that they did not hold specific appeal to individuals under 18 years old.

Furthermore, Ladbrokes provided information regarding the player's age-specific followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This data revealed that only a small number of followers were below the age of 21. The operator also presented data showing the age groups that actually saw the tweets.

Across all four tweets, impressions ranged from 24,653 to 35,050. However, there was a single impression within the 18-24 age range, which Ladbrokes considered an outlier.

ASA’s Final Ruling

Despite Ladbrokes' explanation, ASA has upheld its complaint against the company. According to them, all the tennis players featured in the tweets are considered "star players" based on their accomplishments in the sport.

The body further explained that featuring well-known, accomplished tennis players inherently raises the risk of attracting individuals under 18. As a result, their inclusion violates sections 16.1, 16.3, and 16.3.12 of ASA's CAP Code, which outlines regulations for marketing in the UK.

Although ASA took Ladbrokes' presented data into consideration, it emphasized that this does not negate the appeal these advertisements hold for under-18s. ASA instructed Ladbrokes to refrain from featuring individuals who might attract under-18s in their advertising.

This marks the third time since July where ASA has acted against Ladbrokes for publishing ads that target under-18s.

In the previous month, ASA criticized Ladbrokes for featuring social media influencer and boxer Jake Paul in a tweet. Just a week later, Ladbrokes faced reprimand from ASA once more, this time for showcasing Premier League managers in two sponsored tweets.

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