The ASA has ordered Richard Desmond’s Health Lottery to withdraw a TV ad that depicted people describing themselves as ‘losers’ for not entering its new Wednesday draw, branding the execution as “socially irresponsible.”
The ruling was prompted by viewers complaining the ad, which featured multiple people branded as “losers,” “disparaged abstentionism” and suggested peer pressure to participate in the draw.
The Health Lottery claimed the ad merely “raised awareness about the fact that the Wednesday draw was not a ‘second chance’ draw or raffle but a new product for which a new ticket purchase was required.”
Clearcast also responded to the charges arguing treatment of the ad was sufficiently humorous not to be taken at face value, pointing out the ad directed viewers to the Gamble Aware site plus the timing of the slots prevent it from being broadcast to those under the age of 18.
The ASA ruled the ads breached the advertising code for suggesting viewers were losers if they didn’t participate. It also ruled some of the featured people calling themselves ‘losers’ appeared distressed or frustrated by their lack of participation in the draw. The watchdog added the term loser is pejorative.