The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint made against an advertisement for MrQ.com, after the operator posted an ad on Reddit depicting three Spider-Man figures pointing at one another, with a text box reading ‘MrQ’ over their heads.
The complaint made against the ad contended that it would have ‘particular appeal’ to children, due to the popularity of the Spider-Man character – and the meme utilised by the ad in question.
MrQ contended that the advertisement ‘had been placed by an agency which had followed audience targeting to ensure it targeted people who were already interested in gambling and, because of that, they believed it was unlikely to be seen by children or young people.’
However, MrQ conceded that the ad had breached regulations, with the ASA stating: ‘Although they had approved the copy, they had not seen the images before the ad was placed. Their marketing terms and conditions stated that agents should not use images of famous individuals or brands and that they had terminated the relationship with the agency because the Spider-Man imagery was used without their approval.’
Reddit commented that it had not received any complaints about the ad but had now amended its policy with regard to cartoon characters being used in paid-for gambling advertising.
In upholding the complaint, the ASA stated it ‘understood the ad was making reference to a popular meme. Nevertheless, we considered that a cartoon depiction of Spider-Man, a popular comic book character, was likely to appeal more strongly to under-18s than it would to over-18s.
‘We therefore considered that the ad, which featured three cartoon depictions of Spiderman, was likely to have particular appeal to children and concluded that it breached the Code.’