Anthony Joshua

The Advertising Standards Authority has taken action against Betfred for three tweets featuring heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua

Petfre (Gibraltar) Ltd, which trades as  Betfred, received word from the ASA that three of its tweets between March and April 2023 – each featuring video interviews with the boxer – “must not appear again in their current form” after being considered to have “a strong appeal” to under-18s. 

Two tweets saw Joshua being interviewed by Dom McGuinness ahead of the former’s bout with Jermaine Franklin, looking into the boxer’s diet and motivations for the fight, while the third had Joshua detailing his confidence in the result going his way. 

Despite the tweet containing no promotional offers or specific advertising, with Betfred defending them as ‘editorial in nature’, and with boxing considered to have no “moderate or high risk” under CAP guidance, Joshua’s social media following was considered enough to make the tweets unlawful. 

Within the ASA report, Betfred 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. 

Although zero per cent of his followers on Twitter/X, Facebook and TikTok were registered as being between 13 and 17 years old, five per cent of Joshua’s Snapchat followers and over six per cent of his Instagram followers were registered as being between 13 and 17 years old. 

At the time of publishing, Joshua had 29.3 million followers across various social channels, of which 1.1 million users were registered as being under 18, a figure that the ASA considers to be ‘a substantially high number’ resulting in the ruling being upheld. 

The ASA then referred to CAP guidelines that state: “a generally high social media following that attracts a significant absolute number of under 18 followers, as determined through quantitative or qualitative analysis, is likely to be considered an indicator of ‘strong’ appeal”.

The report concluded that the advertisement had breached CAP code (Edition 12) rules 16.1, 16.3 and 16.3.12 (Gambling) and advised Petfre “not to include a person or character who had strong appeal to those under 18” in its future marketing.