GVC Berated Over Fluffy Favourites Pokies Ad

Tia Winter | 18 November 2020

A Facebook ad promoting GVC’s Gala Spins has drawn massive criticism and a stern warning from the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority. The promotional ad, which first appeared as a paid-for advertisement on the social media platform in August this year, featured the images of the five toy characters starring in Gala Spins’ Fluffy Favourites online pokies game.

Captioned, It’s a Rollercoaster of Cuteness, and accompanied by a further What’s your spin? presented as a side-caption alongside clips taken from the pokie, the text and images are according to the ASA’s ruling, highly likely to appeal not only to players of a legal gambling age, but especially so to children. 

The advertisement has since been removed from the social media platform.

Ad Outdated Claims Gala

Gala Spins has in response to the ruling said that the video was in fact posted in error – what with it already at the time of the posting having been out of date. The brand explained the error as possibly having come to pass resulting from the original Fluffy Favourites ad having been part of a wider campaign aimed at female online gaming enthusiasts falling within the age category 18 – 65.

The GVC brand furthermore provided the necessary proof in support of its statement that the content of the pokies ad had not been viewed by anyone under the age of 18. The campaign was mandated and paid for so as to be viewed by adult social media audiences only, Gala Spins has said.

GVC Warned Over Future Ads

The reason for the crack-down, the ASA explained in response to GVC’s reaction, was that aside from the content being shown to an audience responsible for the self-reporting of their age, no other safeguards existed so as to ensure compliance with the relevant age-specific provisions published early last year by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP).

The nature of the content featured in the Fluffy Favourites section of the campaign, explained the advertising authority, is the type of content typically used to appeal to under-age persons, children, and society’s most vulnerable in general. As such, said the ASA, GVC and Gala Spins had acted socially irresponsibly according to the provisions of Section 16.1 of the CAP code of good advertising practice.

The ASA ultimately decided not to issue a fine or other severe form of penalty, but has warned Gala Spins against the posting of future pokies ads featuring content likely to appeal to under-age persons.