William Hill has been spanked by the ad watchdog for an ad on dating app Tinder which suggested that users would be far more likely to get their leg over if they downloaded the bookie’s mobile app.
The ad for William Hill, which was sent as a message to users, read: “Stuck in the friend zone? You won’t be for much longer if you use this Cheltenham [horse racing] free bet offer.”
It was followed by a link to download the William Hill app.
One Tinder user got the hump, though, and rifled off a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, to challenge whether the ad breached the code by linking gambling to sexual success.
In response, William Hill argued that customers who signed up would “enter into a relationship with William Hill”, adding that the promotion was supposed to relate the offer to the nature of the business they were advertising on – Tinder.
However, in hindsight the firm agreed that it had the potential to be interpreted differently, but it was not its intention to link gambling to sexual success. It said it had removed the ad and was in the process of conducting a full review of existing content on the platform.
Tinder said that it initially reviewed the ad to ensure its content was not socially irresponsible, offensive or targeting minors, and having passed its initial screening, published it on the platform. The ad was no longer live and they had not received any other complaints about it.
In its ruling, the ASA said that that gambling ads must not link betting to “seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness”, but it considered that the text suggested that those who “gambled would be more likely to develop a friendship into a sexual relationship and therefore linked gambling with sexual success”.
Even though the ad had been withdrawn voluntarily, the watchdog maintained that it must not appear again and warned William Hill to ensure it did not link gambling to sexual success.
William Hill said: “We take on board what the ASA have said about this particular advert and have removed it from circulation.”
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