ASA guidelines to impact use of brand ambassadors

Due to come into force on 1 April 2019, advertising regulators CAP and BCAP have introduced new guidance on gambling advertising and protecting children and young people.  
The new advertising standards are set to prohibit the display of online adverts for gambling products and services that uses data on consumer online interests and browsing behaviour that may be targeted towards minors.
The guidelines will also extensively list unacceptable types of content, including certain types of animated characters, licensed characters that are likely to be of particular appeal to children, and references to youth culture.
What may be of importance to affiliates is that CAP and BCAP are to prohibit the use of sportspersons, celebrities and other characters who appear to be under 25 as brand ambassadors.
The report details: Responsibility lies with gambling operators to ensure that affiliates or other third parties acting on their behalf to publish or otherwise disseminate marketing communications comply with the Codes.
Marketers should take particular care when identifying influencers to promote their products or brands. They should identify the influencer’s likely appeal and obtain audience data (for instance, the age breakdown of a follower or subscriber-base) to ensure that under-18s are not likely to comprise more than 25% of the audience. Where such data is not available or incomplete, marketers should exercise caution.”
In a letter sent to the former Minister for Sport Tourism and Heritage, Tracey Crouch, the Chief Executive of the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) detailed that the agency would: “publish new CAP guidance which will aim to reduce children’s exposure to age-restricted ads, including gambling ads, by requiring marketers placing age-restricted ads on social media platforms to use the sophisticated targeting tools available.”
He explained how the new guidelines would be “ensuring they support their choice of demographic data with behavioural data that excludes interests and behaviours associated with people under the relevant age.”
This will significantly impact the use of brand ambassadors for gambling operators. What we have seen in recent years is some brands getting themselves into bother by using influencer marketing.
Ladbrokes Coral and some of the stars of Geordie Shore had previously entered into an affiliate partnership, however this was also seen to fall into the realm of social media influencer marketing.
What we may see is a change in the ways operators will advertise their products in a move to comply with the new guidelines set out by CAP and BCAP.

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