Many of the complaints we see being made to the Advertising Standards Authority about bingo ads, refer to unclear offers and promotions that consumers feel haven't effectively mentioned key facts, such as depositing and wagering requirements. So, it came as somewhat of a surprise when we saw a June ASA ruling surrounding a Wink Bingo ad that a not-for-profit gambling awareness organisation felt was a tad too saucy!
Last week, the ASA decided to not uphold a complaint made about a poster advertising Wink Bingo on the side of a bus. The eye-catching ad featured a group of topless men (which the Wink fans among you might know are actually the Dream Idols male stripping dance troupe), grinning and pointing towards text which read: “£35 FREE* Go on… you know you want to.”
The complaint was made by the Gambling Reform & Society Perception (GRASP) group, which was founded in late 2010 by former compulsive gamblers. The group’s main focus is preventing others from falling into the trap of gambling addition and, although they do provide advice services to problem gamblers, the majority of their work is in raising public awareness. Whilst their website states that they are “not against gambling or against any operator working in a free enterprise,” they do say they’re against problem gambling and the related social consequences of this type of addiction.
According to GRASP, the Wink Bingo bus advert’s use of the semi-clad Dream Idols combined with the statement “Go on… you know you want to,” linked gambling on online bingo with seduction, and enhanced the attractiveness of the offer. In Wink’s defence, Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Ltd told the ASA that the semi-naked men in question were actually the current face of the brand, and that the phrase used was a common one in England. They added that the “Go on…” phrase referred to the £35 bonus offer and not the boys themselves, and that therefore, the ad could not be said to suggest a link between gambling and enhanced attractiveness or sexual success.
The Advertising Standards Authority reviewed the complaint under CAP Code rule 16.3.8 but did not find it in breach, and therefore decided to not uphold GRASP’s complaint.
Did any of our readers see this advert? If so, what do you make of this complaint? They say that sex sells, but according to Wink Bingo, that was not the intention of the ad, and the use of the Dream Idols as the face of their brand is a bit of light-hearted fun.