ASA upholds ruling against Betfred for tweets featuring Anthony Joshua

This comes in relation to three tweets posted by Betfred in March and April 2023. 

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The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) has upheld its ruling against Betfred over tweets posted by the operator, which were in relation to an Anthony Joshua fight it was promoting. 

The three tweets in question included Joshua being interviewed by commentator Dom McGuinness about his diet, the second featuring Joshua being interviewed by McGuinness about how he prepares for fights and the third was another interview, where Joshua spoke about his mentality when fighting. 

The ASA questioned the ads and whether they included an individual who was likely to be of strong appeal to those under the age of 18 and therefore breached the CAP Code. 

Betfred’s response made reference to its social media channels, saying they were age-gated to users who were under 18 and where a platform didn’t have robust age verification methods in place, that its targeted campaigns only served to users who were identified as 25 and over, with relative interests.

The brand acknowledged that Joshua had a substantial social media presence, but that it was an overwhelming adult following and that boxing as a sport was an adult-orientated one, often shown late at night, usually on a pay-per-view or subscription basis. 

The ASA referenced CAP Guidance, which stated, “a generally high social media following that attracts a significant absolute number of under-18 followers, as determined through quantitative or qualitative analysis, is likely to be considered an indicator of 'strong' appeal.”

The ASA also referenced that although only a small proportion of Joshua’s followers were under 18, the number, which was over 1.1 million, was seen as significant and so the boxer was seen to be of inherent strong appeal to under-18's. 

This ruling comes two weeks after the ASA ruled that one of Sky Bet’s social media posts featuring Gary Neville breached the advertising code for appealing to under-18's.

Such rulings are becoming more and more consistent against social media posts of this nature. It is an interesting subject... Watch this space.

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