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Kwiff sanctioned by ASA for underage marketing violations

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
UK-based online gaming start-up Eaton Gate Gaming has been sanctioned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for displaying an advertisement for its Kwiff igaming brand on a news article about the Junior Blues on the Portsmouth FC website.
Kwiff ASA

After the Kwiff ad appeared on the page, the ASA challenged whether the ad was “appropriately targeted”, citing rules stating that marketing communication must not be directed at those under 18 years of age either through the section of media or context in which they appear.

While the ASA ultimately upheld the ruling, Eaton Gate Gaming challenged the determination. The operator pointed out that the ad that the company featured was on the news section of the Portsmouth FC website, but not on the “Join the Blues” membership pages or any other section of the site dedicated to children or young people.

Eaton Gate highlight behavioral targeting in challenge

Eaton Gate also emphasised that the behavioural targeting that the business used was a “precise and accurate tool” used to get maximum return of ad spending, therefore limiting underage viewing.

The company said that the software targeted individuals in specific profiles, made up by age, location and interests and excluded under-18s.

The business highlighted the ASA guidelines that state that “relevant tools should be used for targeting and any ads directed at audiences based on data held targeting measures should be used to minimise the chances of those in the protected age category from seeing them”.

The operator however acknowledged that even with effective use of technology, there was a small chance that the ad would be seen by a minor.

ASA uphold Kwiff judgement

Despite these factors the authority opted to uphold the judgement. While the body noted the sophisticated targeting tools used by the operator, the ASA said that it assessed the media alongside which the ad was served before considering further aspects of how the ad was targeted.

The body noted that the ad which the ad appeared alongside was headlined “Join the Junior Blues” and outlined membership packages available for the three junior supporter groups for Portsmouth FC.

“The content of the page therefore was of immediate interest to young people as it exclusively related to services aimed at under 18s,” said the watchdog. “That was compounded by the presence of an image of the Portsmouth FC mascot on the article, a dog, that was presented on the page in cartoon form.

“Because the ad appeared in the context of a web page that was directed at those younger than 18 years, it did not comply with the rules on gambling advertising.”

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