Ladbrokes Adverts Pulled After Single Complaint 

8 January 2009

Global betting and gaming provider Ladbrokes has fallen foul of the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over two recent comical television adverts promoting its online casino at LadbrokesCasino.com.

The ASA is an independent body established to regulate the content of advertisements in the UK and revealed that one viewer took offence at the two ads devised by advertising agency M&C Saatchi and complained.

The first advert showed a young man taking increasingly extreme risks while diving with sharks while the other portrayed a skydiver jumping out of an airplane using only an empty crisp packet as a parachute. The commercial featuring the diver ends with the narrator stating ‘If only he'd seen LadbrokesCasino.com it would have quenched his thrill buds’ while the second concludes with ‘I tell you man, if only he'd seen LadbrokesCasino.com, his thrill buds would have been quenched’.

The unnamed complainant stated that the adverts portrayed gambling in a context of toughness and linked it to risk taking and reckless behaviour.

For its part, Ladbrokes stated that the primary purpose of the adverts were to make people laugh and explained that it was a populist brand that had always communicated to consumers in a light-hearted way. The Harrow-based firm said that the humour in the ads was deliberately exaggerated and ridiculous as it believed this to be crucial in communicating with its target audience of men aged 18 to 34.

However, the ASA agreed with the complainant and ruled that the adverts must not be shown again in their current form.

”We noted the ads were humorous and showed the protagonists engaging in ridiculous and extreme behaviour,” read a statement from the ASA.

“We, nevertheless, considered that the overall context of the ads, including the claim ‘If only he’d seen LadbrokesCasino.com it would have quenched his thrill buds’, portrayed gambling in a context of toughness and linked it to excessive risk taking and reckless behaviour.”