The advertising watchdog has banned a gambling ad from Bear Group for both objectifying women and suggesting that betting could enhance personal qualities and attractiveness.
The ad, for the company’s online casino StarWins.com, featured two men who are transported from a pub scene in which a woman ignores the men, to a casino filled with women in racy clothing that show the men attention.
As the men walk through the casino they are greeted by female croupiers, while (more) women gather around the men as they approach a roulette table. Later the men are shown celebrating at the casino and back in the pub.
The ad was created by Channel 5 Broadcasting and appeared on TV in January.
A complainant challenged whether the ad, which focused heavily on the women’s physical appearance, was sexist and objectified women.
In its defence, Daily Star Wins suggested that the presence of female croupiers, a profession which has historically been “predominantly male-dominated”, placed women in a position of authority over the male players. They said the croupiers were “formally dressed in evening wear”, which was in keeping with how casino employees often dressed. They denied the presence of prejudice, stereotyping or discrimination against women on the basis of their sex.
However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) noted that the ad’s focus on the high proportion of women in the casino as well as their attractiveness to the men, who appeared to admire the physical appearance of the women, meant that women were used as a key draw of Daily Star Wins. It therefore ruled the ad objectified women and was likely to cause “serious or widespread offence”.
The ASA also challenged whether the ad suggested that gambling could enhance personal qualities, since the men were shown more attention by women when they were at the casino rather than in the pub.
Daily Star Wins argued that the protagonists were shown in the same ordinary clothes throughout the ad, a deliberate creative decision to avoid glamourising gambling, and that their self-image or self-esteem did not improve and no one in the casino was seen interacting with them.
However, the ASA believed that the presence of a growing group of women around the men as they moved through the casino created an impression that gambling had gained them recognition and admiration, and made them more popular and attractive to women.
For both of these reasons, the ad has been banned from appearing again.