LC International Ltd t/a Ladbrokes promoted a paid-for Facebook ad, which referred to the film “The Goonies”. The ASA received a complaint about the ad, which was seen on 31 March 2021, on the basis that it was likely to be of particular appeal to children.
Despite the fact The Goonies could be regarded as a children’s film, the ASA determined that the film was not popular with children today and that the ad itself did not feature any imagery which would particularly resonate with under-18s. Therefore, it was decided that the ad did not breach the CAP Code.
The ad stated "Play The Goonies Jpk at Ladbrokes. Get 30+ Free Spins on top of your £50…". Below this text was an image of a nautical map with a superimposed logo for "The Goonies" film, along with some realistic-looking coins and a logo reading “Jackpot King”. The ad did not include any imagery or characters from the film.
Ladbrokes explained that the post had been targeted at those who self-certified their age as being 18 or over, and that they had excluded existing customers and self-excluded users from the post’s targeting.
Following the complaint, the ASA considered whether the ad had been in breach of CAP Code rules 16.1, which states that ads must be socially responsible (especially in regard to ensuring children are not exploited) and 16.3.12, which requires that ads must not be of particular appeal to children including in respect of being associated with youth culture. This was due to the fact that the ad was not served in an age-gated environment and that those who were seeing the ad had not had their age verified by Facebook, and so could technically be children.
Ladbrokes pointed out that ‘The Goonies’ film was originally released in 1985 and that, whilst the cast was mostly made up of children, and the film would have, around the time of its release, appealed to children, those who are under 18 today are not particularly familiar with the film. The ASA accepted this point and explained that their understanding was that the film had gained cult status with children around the time of release, but that those children were now adults. They agreed that, whilst the content of the film might be appealing to children, because the film had not had any widespread re-release in cinemas and due to its popularity among adults, it was probably not a film that appealed more to children than it did to adults.
Considering the content of the ad itself, the ASA accepted that the ad did not include any imagery that would be particularly interesting to children, given neither the nautical map nor the coins were colourful or cartoonish, and that no imagery from the film was included.
Therefore, the ASA found that the complaint was not upheld, and that the ad had not breached the CAP Code.
The full ruling is available here.