“Irresponsible” TAB ad slammed by gambling reform site

By AdNews | 23 October 2014

An ex-gambler turned gambling reform advocate has lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) saying the ad normalises gambling.

Melbourne-based blogger Tom Cummings took to Twitter and his 'cyenne' blog, which promotes Cummings' firm beliefs in gambling reform, to share details of his complaint.

The ad shows two bearded men holding green shopping bags leaping in the air and the slogan saying: “It’s Betting Season. Time To Go Shopping”. The green shopping bags are overflowing with what looks like money but it is actually betting slips.

Created by Whybin\TBWA Group Sydney, the campaign taps into the insight that, for men, betting season holds the same “excitement and passion” as shopping does for women. In the campaign’s initial release, it said the tongue-in-cheek campaign compares shopping and betting “in a light-hearted way” - something Cummings does not agree with.

In a list of objections sent to the ASB, Cummings said the characterisation of gambling as being equivalent to shopping normalises gambling, making it seem harmless and safe when in fact it is a restricted activity with the potential to cause serious problems – such as financial, mental, emotional, personal, domestic, legal issues.

He also said the depiction of shopping bags stuffed full of betting slips gives the impression they are bags of cash, and that the volume of betting slips portrayed in the ad implies thousands of bets placed - thus promoting “irresponsible gambling practices, which is illegal”.

“Re-branding betting as shopping is deceptive and misleading,” Cummings said.

“I understand that the TAB have launched an entire campaign around the idea that gambling for men is akin to shopping for women (this has been discussed on several advertising industry forums),” he said.

“Not only is this a sexist assumption but it is inaccurate and dangerous. Gambling is not shopping; it involves no goods received , no receipts and no refunds. If (unlike shopping) you buy a bet that doesn’t work out, you can’t get your money back.”

He stressed that gambling advertising is not allowed to misrepresent the services they offer or to promote unsafe gambling practices, which Cummings said this ad, and others in the campaign do both.

A spokesman from ASB said they had not received other complaints regrading this advert, but they did add that complaints surrounding gambling adverts are common.

The campaign appears on multiple channels including, TV, digital, social, press, point-of-sale, outdoor, radio and CRM. To see the full campaign here: Women shop for dresses, men go shopping at the TAB.

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