The Advertising Standards Authority has dismissed one complaint against Ladbrokes, which considered a reference to the film The Goonies was likely to be of particular appeal to those under 18 years of age.

This was a paid-for Facebook post seen on March 31, 2021, which states ‘Play The Goonies Jpk at Ladbrokes. Get 30+ Free Spins on top of your £50…’. 

Below that was an image of a nautical map with superimposed text that stated ‘The Goonies’, along with some realistic-looking golden doubloons and a logo that read ‘Jackpot King’.

Responding to the complaint, Ladbrokes stated that the ad had been through their internal review process, but had subsequently been removed from Facebook, associated ad campaigns, and their ad catalogue in response to this action.

It added that the post had been targeted at males and females aged 18 years old and over, with existing customers and self-excluded users having been excluded from the post’s targeting.

Furthermore, the company highlighted that the ad did not contain any imagery or characters from The Goonies, in addition to asserting a belief that it would not be well known to children in 2021 after being released in 1985.

In its assessment, the ASA acknowledged steps taken by the company to target the ad only at those aged 18 years of age and over, as well as the “cult status” of the film in question, particularly among adults who were children when the film was originally released

“We considered that because of that, it was not a recent or current film with which children were likely to be familiar. Nonetheless, we considered the content of the film was likely to have some appeal for them,” the ASA stated.

“However, given its popularity among adults, we did not consider that it was likely to appeal more to under-18s than over-18s.

“We noted that while the ad featured ‘The Goonies’ logo and typeface, it did not feature any characters or other imagery from the film. 

“We considered that the nautical map and golden doubloons featured in the ad were not colourful, cartoonish, or otherwise presented in a way that was likely to resonate with children, and were more likely to have general or adult appeal.”

It was concluded that the advertisement was not of particular appeal to under-18s, and had not breached the code.