The latest 888 Poker television advertisement, in which its PokerCam tables are promoted, has been objected to on grounds that it suggests that gambling is associated with seduction. After examining this complaint against the ad, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), an independent regulator of advertising in the UK, has ruled that the ad must not be shown on television again.
The advertisement shows a man turning on his webcam while playing online poker. A voice then says, “Turn your webcam on at 888 Poker and play face-to-face online. You never know who you might meet at a poker cam table. Experience PokerCam tables now at 888poker.com. Get £5 free, no deposit needed. 888poker, we play different.” The ad then shows several people, including women, interacting with the man. A woman clad in a bikini emerges from the swimming pool and joins in the online poker fun.
888.com has already submitted its response to the complaint. Stating that it does not feel that its advertisement associates gambling with sexual success in any way, 888.com says that it has created the ad carefully and had shown it on TV only after it was first examined by gambling advocates and Clearcast.
The online gambling company further states that the aim of the advertisement is to promote the action of turning on one’s webcam while playing poker to enhance the social experience of playing this game. The various characters in the advertisement are interacting with one another as poker buddies, adding to the fun of playing online poker. The company further stressed that the interactions are platonic in nature as the group comprises people of different age groups and genders. The woman clad in bikini was shown to drive home the message that online poker can be enjoyed any time and any place.
Clearcast has expressed its support of 888.com. Stating that 888.com’s advertisement does not in any way associate seduction, sexual success, and gambling, Clearcast has pointed out that the various characters in the advertisement do not get sexually involved with one another.
While the ASA has agreed that showing attractive people in ads does not indicate sexual success and seduction, it maintains that the voice in the backdrop, the way in which the players interact, and the behavior of the bikini-clad woman indicate that online gambling is associated with sexual success and seduction. The ASA, therefore, concludes that the advertisement has violated the established code of conduct.