ASA Upholds Complaint Against Buzz Bingo Halloween Ad on Facebook

A complaint filed against Buzz Bingo for a Halloween-themed commercial that ran on its Facebook page in October 2023 has been upheld by a recent Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) verdict. The lone complaint questioned whether the advertisement’s kid-friendly cartoon images violated advertising regulations.

The animated sequences of the Buzz Bingo Halloween advertisement included images of a graveyard, bats, spiders, a witch-like church, a full moon, and pumpkin heads. A description promoting “Monster Mondays” with a chance to win £50,000 every Monday in October was included with the images.

The complaint claimed that the advertisement violated advertising standards since it had cartoonish Halloween features that would likely appeal to youngsters.

Buzz Bingo’s Defense and Targeted Campaign

Buzz Bingo refuted the complaint, claiming the advertisement was posted on their Facebook page, which is only accessible by those who are at least 18 years old. The advertisement’s target audience, according to the firm, was bingo enthusiasts over the age of 25.

Buzz Bingo expressed worries on the potential attractiveness of the Halloween images to youngsters, even as it asserted efforts to prevent exposure to children and young adults. As a result, the business took down the advertisement and modified its internal processes for marketing clearance.

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In its decision, the ASA recognized the advice provided by the CAP Code, which states that commercials shouldn’t have a “strong appeal to children or young persons.” As to the Code, advertisements should steer clear of childish backdrop images and use animated material to create an impression intended to appeal to those under the age of 18.

The ASA highlighted how much kids love Halloween customs and pointed out that the cartoon graphics was reminiscent of children’s books and animations. It was also determined that the word “monster” in the advertisement may appeal to young audiences.

The ASA found that Buzz Bingo’s advertisement was irresponsible and in breach of CAP Code sections 16.1 and 16.3.12, while acknowledging the company’s response actions to the complaint.

Buzz Bingo was told not to air the advertising in its current form again, and the ASA recommended that the operator refrain from using themes or images in future ads that would strongly appeal to anyone under the age of 18. Because Facebook’s self-verification procedure did not achieve the necessary degree of accuracy for information likely to strongly appeal to minors, the Court underscored the necessity for comprehensive age verification.

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The case emphasizes the value of responsible advertising, particularly in digital environments where age verification procedures are essential to limiting exposure to unsuitable material.

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