Modern Marketing Brand Strategy

ASA bans Floki Inu ad with Fomo angle

By John Glenday | Reporter

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Cryptocurrency article

March 2, 2022 | 4 min read

A marketing campaign promoting yet another pop-up cryptocurrency with the sole distinction of being named after Elon Musk’s dog has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for misleading consumers.

Fresh from issuing a ‘red alert’ on the prevalence of high-risk cryptocurrency scams, the UK’s advertising watchdog has pulled the plug on a poster campaign for Floki Inu for attempting to snare consumers into investing.

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The advertising campaign for Floki ran for three weeks across the London tube and buses last October

Running on the London Underground network, the campaign depicted a cartoon dog wearing a Viking helmet and encouraged passersby who missed their chance to earn a quick buck on other successful cryptocurrencies to put their money behind Floki Inu.

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The posters read: ‘Missed Doge? Get Floki,’ with warnings that ‘investments’ can go down as well as up buried in the small print alongside a disclaimer that cryptocurrencies are not regulated in the UK.

The ASA weighed in after judging that the advertising trivialized the risks associated with trusting your savings to an unproven currency. The watchdog also noted that the campaign played on public ignorance of the true nature of the financial product and exploited fears that they risked ‘missing out’ if they did not act immediately.

Floki insists that its logo’s representation of Musk’s adopted Shiba Inu dog Floki was central to its brand recognition, and denied that it was socially irresponsible or deliberately trivializing the risks to people’s hard-earned cash.

Dismissing such pleas, the ASA wrote: “We considered that the use of a cartoon imagery gave the impression that purchasing cryptocurrency was a light-hearted and trivial matter. As such, it distracted consumers from the seriousness of an investment that was volatile and unregulated.

“We considered that the ad took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity,” the ASA continued. “We therefore concluded the ad was irresponsible and breached the code. We told Floki Inu to ensure that they did not irresponsibly exploit consumers’ fear of missing out and trivialize investment in cryptocurrency.”

Floki Inu further argued that it was targeting ‘informed consumers,’ but in choosing to promote on public transport the ASA was of the opinion that general audiences would hear the message.

The advertising campaign for Floki, dubbed the ‘meme coin,’ ran for three weeks across the London tube and buses last October.

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