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ASA blasts XLMedia over Mason Mount advert

| By Robert Fletcher
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has criticised XLMedia over an advert for the affiliate group’s Freebets.com brand that featured footballer Mason Mount on Instagram.
ASA XLMedia Instagram

The ad appeared on 11 and 12 July this year, featuring an image of the professional footballer. The midfielder was playing for Chelsea at the time but has since moved to Manchester United.

Two complaints were raised over whether the ad breached regulations as it included a player under the age of 25. The ASA contacted XLMedia over the matter but the group failed to respond.

ASA concerned over “disregard” for rules

Ruling on the case, the ASA hit out at XLMedia’s lack of response and “apparent disregard” for regulations. As such, the ASA said XLMedia breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 in relation to unreasonable delay.

The authority also flagged that, as stated in the CAP Code, gambling adverts cannot feature anyone under 25 playing a significant role. In addition, it said marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society.

The ASA acknowledged that the service provided by Freebets.com is not itself gambling, as the website collects betting offers from other operators. However, it said using the site allows consumers to interact with gambling services. 

As a result, the ASA considered it “irresponsible to feature someone who was aged under 25 playing a significant role” in the ad. The footballer was 24 years old at the time the ad was published.

The ASA also highlighted that Mount was the central focus of the ad and was therefore seen as featuring in a significant role. 

Summing up, the ASA said the advert was for a service intended to facilitate gambling and featured someone under 25 in a significant role. As this breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 on social responsibility, the ASA ruled the ad was irresponsible.

The ASA said the ad must not appear again in its current form. It also told XLMedia to ensure future adverts do not feature anyone under 25 in a significant role. The matter was also referred to CAP’s compliance team.

People’s Postcode Lottery also rapped over advertising breach

The latest ruling comes after the ASA last week reprimanded the People’s Postcode Lottery over an advert. The ad in question linked gambling to solving financial concern.

A Daily Mail newspaper advert reported a couple overcame redundancy and paid for their wedding thanks to a £62,500 lottery win.

The ad said the couple initially postponed their nuptials until their numbers came up. After being part of their neighbourhood’s £1m win, they would now also be able to afford a honeymoon.

The People’s Postcode Lottery and Daily Mail argued the ad did not imply participation in the lottery was a way to achieve financial security.

However, the ASA ruled the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 17.3 (Lotteries). This rule states marketing communications must not suggest that participating in a lottery can be a solution to financial concerns, an alternative to employment or a way to achieve financial security.

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