The Advertising Standards Authority has taken action against Ladbrokes for a tweet featuring Youtuber-turned-boxer Jake Paul.
LC International Ltd, owner of Ladbrokes, received word from the ASA that its February 2023 tweet – probing users to guess Paul’s next move after his defeat to Tommy Fury – “must not appear again in its current form” after being considered to have “a strong appeal” to under-18s.
The tweet asked Twitter users whether Paul – who co-founded US sports betting operator Betr – would ‘win the re-match’, ‘head to the MMA’, ‘return to YouTube’, or ‘join the WWE’, but the ASA considers that the use of the individual “breached the code” and was “irresponsible”.
Despite the tweet containing no calls to action, promotional offers or links back to Ladbrokes, and while boxing is considered by CAP guidance to have no “moderate or high risk” for under-18 appeal, Paul’s background was considered enough to make the tweet unlawful.
Ladbrokes responded to the claim by assuring that its Twitter feed was age-gated and therefore could not be accessed by users in the age range.
The ASA report revealed that the tweet was promoted and targeted to users aged 25 and older, receiving 16,494 impressions when it was posted after the boxing match. Of those impressions, 47.1 per cent were aged between 20 and 29 years old.
However, Paul’s following spans multiple social media platforms, and statistics find that although zero per cent of his Twitter followers are registered as under 18, 13, 16 and 18 per cent of his Instagram, Youtube and TikTok followers are registered as under 18 respectively.
Paul’s background in acting was also considered, as the social media personality had appeared in Bizaardvark, a Disney Channel show that ran from 2016 to 2018 and targeted a teenage audience.
Outlining the CAP guidance on situations involving social media personalities, the ASA report stated: “CAP guidance stated that sportspeople involved in clearly adult-oriented sports who were ‘notable’ stars with significant social media and general profiles which made them well-known to under-18s was considered moderate risk in terms of how likely they were to be of strong appeal to under-18s.”
The report concluded that the advertisement had breached CAP code (Edition 12) rules 16.1, 16.3 and 16.3.12 (Gambling) and advised LC International “not to include a person or character who had strong appeal to those under 18” in its marketing.