Entain’s Ladbrokes brand has received a warning from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regarding a social media poll related to the popular social media personality Jake Paul. The bookmaker conducted the poll in anticipation of Paul’s second boxing match against Tommy Fury in February.
The poll posed the question:
“So, we’ve got to ask the question… What’s next for Jake Paul? Vote here now.”
The voting options included Paul winning the rematch against Fury, venturing into mixed martial arts, returning to his YouTube career, or joining the WWE.
The ASA stated that the use of Jake Paul in the post violated the Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) rules regarding appeals to younger demographics. Although Paul had transitioned to boxing, his background on YouTube and substantial following on social media among young users, including 3 million followers under the age of 18 out of his 65 million across YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, were noted. It was also highlighted that he had appeared in Disney’s children’s program called Bizaardvark.
The ASA concluded that Jake Paul still possessed a “strong appeal” to individuals under the age of 18, making Ladbrokes’ post irresponsible. This determination was made despite Ladbrokes utilizing targeting and age-gating measures on Twitter and Jake Paul not having a significant under-18 audience on that specific platform.
This ruling contrasts with the ASA’s recent dismissal of a complaint against a tweet by bet365 featuring the boxer Chris Eubank Jr. The watchdog found that the post was acceptable as boxing was deemed an adult sport with limited appeal to individuals under the age of 18.
These two cases emphasize the importance for operators to thoroughly assess the profiles of athletes or celebrities mentioned in advertisements or posts. Ladbrokes argued that boxing was not categorized as a moderate or high-risk sport due to its predominantly adult audience. However, the company failed to consider Jake Paul’s broader profile beyond the sport.
As a result, the ASA has instructed Ladbrokes to remove the advertisement and to avoid featuring individuals or characters with a strong appeal to those under 18 years of age in future posts.