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Arsenal’s ‘fan tokens’ crypto ads banned in latest ASA rulings

Arsenal Football Club crypto ads among those hit with ASA ad bans

Arsenal Football Club, Kopparberg and Blackpool Pleasure Beach are just some of the brands slapped with an Advertising Standards Association (ASA) ad ban in the watchdog’s latest ruling roundup.

The ASA has published 25 of its recent rulings, with cryptocurrency ads, influencer marketing and alcohol promotions top of the hit list.

Arsenal Football Club was called out as a prime offender of rule-breaking cryptocurrency ads amid the ASA’s increasing crackdown in the space. In August, Arsenal was investigated for ads offering crypto fan tokens and two online ads were banned, one of which included text that stated ’$AFC in now live $CHZ’ and another that included information about the benefits of an Arsenal Fan Token.

Despite the second ad including a disclaimer about the risks of crypto, the ASA said Arsenal’s ads didn’t make clear a fan token is a crypto asset that needed cryptocurrency payment. The ruling also found the ads to trivialize the currency and didn’t clearly state the risks.

Along with Arsenal, the online money transfer platform Skrill was penalized for its crypto ads, deemed to take advantage of consumers’ inexperience and not showing the risks.

On the alcohol front, the ASA upheld complaints against Cider of Sweden-owned Kopparberg for a radio ad that implied alcohol made people popular and for casting people who looked under 25.

Leeds brewery The Lowcal was slapped for a paid ad on rugby player Adam Cuthbertson’s Instagram page claiming the booze was nutritional. The ASA also banned ads from beer snorkel brand The Chop Shop after the City of Durham Parish Council complained its beer funnels encouraged excessive alcohol consumption and featured people who looked under 25.

In April, the ASA issued a warning to influencers that it would name and shame accounts not properly labeling ads. In its latest roundup, influencers Charlotte Dawson, Chloe Ferry, Jamie Genevieve and SR2AN were added to its ’name and shame’ list for falling foul of rules for promotional content.

The ASA upheld complaints from three companies accused of objectifying women. Clothing retailer Jigsaw came under fire for an email that the ASA said sexualized and objectified women, meanwhile the takeaway delivery service The Food Home had an ad banned for being “likely to cause serious or widespread offense” by objectifying women. Four complaints were upheld against JMAC, a construction machinery retailer, for a paid-for Facebook post that objectified women.

The ASA came down hard on rapid transformational therapy (RTT) ads in 2021, with two practitioners – Nirasha Ramlugan and More Than Enough – facing ad bans. A Nirasha Ramlugan Facebook ad claimed RTT could cure infertility and discouraged treatment for a condition that needed medical supervision, meanwhile More Than Enough had ads claiming RTT could cure conditions.

Schuh, H&M-owners HM Hennes Mauritz UK and Popsoda all escaped rulings for ads that were deemed to feature unhealthily thin models.

Disturbing imagery is another area the ASA investigates. Blackpool Pleasure Beach was hit with 26 complaints, which the ASA upheld, about a Halloween billboard branded “inappropriate and distributing” for kids. Norfolk Dinosaur Park on the other hand dodged an ASA ruling for a poster deemed to be inappropriate for young children.

Other rulings

  • An ad from Magnatech Technology that suggested magnet technology would reduce carbon emissions in a boiler was banned for being misleading

  • The ASA banned a BT ad guaranteeing a broadband speed of 60Mbps

  • Frozen yogurt brand Yolé Global Pte had an Instagram ad banned for an unfair promotion

  • The hut.com-owned online retailer lookfantastic.com had an email ad banned for misleading claims over potential discounts for hair products

  • Gutter cleaners Ben’s Gutters was penalized for a leaflet appearing to be from a local tradesperson when Ben’s Gutters is a national brand

  • We Buy Any Car avoided a ban after ads claiming a branch is ’usually no more than 15 minutes away’ were cleared by the ASA

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