ASA says Daily Star ad 'likely to cause serious or widespread offence'

ASA says Daily Star ad 'likely to cause serious or widespread offence'

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Daily Star Wins TV ad objectified women says regulator

The mobile casino carrying the branding of UK national newspaper Daily Star has been criticised for its TV ad being sexist by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The advert for Star Wins features two men in a pub being transported to a casino mainly staffed by attractive female employees, mainly populated by female gamblers and featuring lots of admiring looks at the two male protagonists.

Bear Group Ltd t/a Daily Star Wins argued that the female staff were wearing outfits you would expect them to wear for their roles – the cabaret performers in traditional dance dress and the croupiers in formal evening wear. It also argued that the croupiers were in a position of greater authority than the players in the ad and therefore didn’t discriminate against women on the basis of their sex.

However the ASA disagreed, noting that all the casino employees seen in the ad were women and that the majority of the people present in the casino were women. It said: “While in the casino the men only interacted with each other or with women (rather than other men), and when interacting with women in each case either the men or the women gave each other intense looks which suggested they were appraising them physically. We considered the ad put particular visual emphasis both on the generally high proportion of women in the casino and on the physical attractiveness of the female casino employees to the two male protagonists.

“We considered that the combination of those visual emphases with the voice-over specifically highlighting that Daily Star Wins (which provided only online casino services) employed “real” female croupiers, served to depict the presence of physically attractive women as the key attraction of Daily Star Wins. We considered the ad therefore objectified women, and concluded it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence on that basis.”

The advert was also censured for suggesting that gambling could ‘enhance personal qualities’ – something the advertising authorities are very keen to avoid.

Star Wins said that since there was no direct interaction between the protagonists and the casino employees or other players, it could not be said that there was any suggestion of seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness.

The ASA thought differently though: “When the men were initially shown in the pub the only person who paid attention to them was the barman serving their drinks. We noted that in contrast, in the casino they exchanged intense looks with the female casino employees, a group of people (mainly consisting of women) began to gather around them as they approached the roulette table, and that group had grown when they were shown winning and celebrating.

“We considered that all those aspects of the ad together created an impression that the men’s interest in and eventual success at gambling had gained them recognition and admiration, and made them more popular and attractive to women. We concluded the ad therefore suggested that gambling could enhance personal qualities, and that it linked gambling to seduction and enhanced attractiveness.”

Totally Gaming says: While it could comfortably be argued that the Daily Star’s brand is sexist given the content of its newspaper, it clearly isn’t allowed to promote its online casino in such a way. However the operator wasn’t flagrantly flouting the rules, it had run the advert past standards organisation Clearcast which had given it the green light. The ASA’s interpretation, however, differed and that’s the one that ultimately matters in this situation.

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