Betway and Southern Comfort ads banned for featuring under-25s

A YouTube ad for gambling firm Betway and two Instagram posts for Southern Comfort have been banned for featuring people under 25 years old.

The YouTube video on the Betway account, seen in October, showed a car clamp prank being played on West Ham footballer Declan Rice.

A viewer complained that the ad breached advertising rules by featuring Rice, who was under 25 years old.

The Betway ad featuring Declan Rice. (ASA/PA)
The Betway ad featuring Declan Rice (ASA/PA)

Betway confirmed that Rice was 20 years old. However, the firm said the video did not feature the player in a sporting context, did not refer to odds or promotions and contained no link to the Betway website where a bet could be placed, describing it as “editorial content” rather than an ad.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the video appeared on the Betway YouTube channel, featured sportsmen who consumers would be able to place bets on in the future and were wearing football shirts with a prominent Betway logo, and ended with the brand name ‘Betway’.

The watchdog said: “We therefore considered that the video was promoting the Betway brand.

“Because Declan Rice was under the age of 25, and played a significant role in the ad, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.”

A Betway spokesman said: “Although the prank was genuinely intended as a stunt for content purposes rather than an advert, Betway fully accept the ASA ruling and have already removed the video.”

Two Instagram posts promoting the Southern Comfort based ‘Shark Bite’ drink, one by influencer Francesca Perks and another by singer Jack Remmington, also drew complaints for featuring people who were or appeared to be under 25.

Sazerac UK, trading as Southern Comfort, said they engaged Perks and Remmington to develop their version of the Shark Bite.

Southern Comfort said Perks was 22 years old when the ad was posted, adding that on receiving the complaint they had asked her to remove the post from her feed.

They said Remmington, and a friend of his who also featured in the ad, were both 25 years old.

The ASA said: “While we welcomed Southern Comfort’s and Ms Perks’ actions to remove the ad once we had contacted them, we were concerned that the advertiser had chosen to work with someone who was under 25 years old.”

Referring to Remmington’s post, the ASA said: “We considered both appeared young in the image and that they seemed to be under 25 years old. We therefore concluded the ad breached the Code on that basis.”

The ads must not appear again in their current form.

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