The gambling industry, unfortunately, helps to keep quite a lot of ad agencies afloat these days. Some (like Mother) take a stand and won’t pitch for betting business, but most agencies cast moral considerations aside, happy to take the money and the creative opportunities.
Thankfully it looks like no agency was involved in this clear breach of ASA codes. Gambling ads must not feature anyone under 25, so Betway’s decision to work with a high-profile footballer like West Ham’s Declan Rice, who is 20, looks pretty stupid.
Betway is West Ham’s main shirt sponsor, and the company claims that the offending film doesn’t break any rules because it isn’t an ad; it’s a prank that they put up on YouTube, from where it was picked up by a lot of media titles including the Mirror, the Star, and Talksport.
It features the hilarious trick of pretending to clamp Rice’s car, and it ends with the “Betway” branding and a responsible betting message, so the excuse that it’s not an ad seems lame.
Saatchi & Saatchi won the Betway account last summer. The agency’s “The Hunch” campaign for the brand might be a little confusing, but at least it stays firmly within the rules.