888 advertising complaints against YouTuber rejected by ASA

By | January 5, 2022

Complaints against YouTuber Callum Airey for featuring two advertisements for 888 on his channel in August 2021 have been dismissed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The two complainants in question challenged that the ads – which were primarily focused around the 888poker product – were being directed against those aged below 18, maintaining a belief that the YouTuber had a large young audience.

Airey defended the advertisements using statistics breaking down his viewership by age, supplying three screenshots from his YouTube analysis showing that the audience of his Calfreezy channel did not have a large following among younger demographics. 

The YouTuber demonstrated using the first screenshot that 7.5% of his audience for the first challenged video – entitled ‘ ‘I Was Youtubers TAXI driver for 24 hours’ – whilst the second video showed  6% under-18 audience. 

Lastly, the third screenshot featuring his overall viewing figures demonstrated that just 8.6% of his audience were aged below the legal gambling limit.

“For paid-organic content published by third-party users of a platform on behalf of a marketer, the ASA required the marketer to demonstrate that under 18s were not likely to comprise 25 per cent of the audience,” the ASA asserted. 

“Because the figures provided by Mr Airey showed the 25 per cent threshold had not been breached, which was also supported by his Instagram statistics, and for YouTube the figures were in fact significantly below the threshold, we considered the ads were not directed at under 18s through the selection of media. We therefore concluded that the ads did not breach the code.”

The Authority further noted that it had not identified any breach relating to the ad appealing to children or young people, having found no evidence of it being associated with youth culture.

888, meanwhile, maintained that it had retained editorial control over the two paid-for ads in the videos, adding that although the first example was not initially labelled as an ad, it had been amended and was now described accurately.

The online gambling group added that Airey was over 25 years old and responsible gambling and 18+ logos featured on both videos, and an 18+ verbal disclaimer was also stated in both ads. Therefore, the operator believed adequate steps had been taken to ensure that they did not appeal to children.

However, the ASA did uphold a complaint against 888 two months ago, specifically relating to an advertisement for its 777.com subsidiary, maintaining that the ad in question featured misleading information.

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