A Sky Bet ad fronted by TV presenter Jeff Stelling which was banned by the ad watchdog in March for suggesting that sports geeks had a greater chance of winning, has been cleared on appeal and is now free to air again.
The TV ad, part of a series featuring Stelling and Soccer Saturday pundits, promoted a Sky Bet’s “request a bet” service which allows punters to lay wagers on combinations of events during a football match, such as the number of corners, red cards and goals.
In the ad Stelling said: “Forget ‘anything can happen’, in sport anything does happen. But could it be better? With request a bet it could. Spark your sports brain and roll all the possibilities into one bet… The possibilities are humongous. How big is your sports noggin?”
But Sky Bet appealed to the Advertising Standards Authority’s independent reviewer, Sir Hayden Phillips, who recommended the ban be reversed. According to a spokesman the ASA Council “was persuaded by the arguments put forward”.
Its new ruling reads: “The ad focused on the features of the particular betting service being promoted and we did not consider that it irresponsibly exaggerated the role which sports knowledge played in achieving betting success.
“The phrase ‘in sport anything does happen’ explicitly recognised the uncertain nature of sporting outcomes. We therefore concluded that the ad was not socially irresponsible and did not breach the code.”
The chances of getting an ad ban overturned are slim. Last year, the independent reviewer received 56 appeals, just 14 were referred to the ASA Council. Only two of those resulted in the ban being overturned; Coco Pops and Smart Pension.
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