Despite strict rules that govern the airing of gambling ads on television, the Cartoon Network made a huge faux pas recently when it mistakenly aired an ad for UK bookmaker Coral during a broadcast on the children’s television channel.
The controversial ad was aired on Turner Broadcasting’s Boomerang channel as well as the Cartoon Network, sparking outrage as the broadcast code strictly prohibits the advertising of gambling “in or adjacent to programs commissioned for, principally directed at, or likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 18 years,” so heads were positively tumbling when the broadcast clearly broke these rules.
The station could have perhaps been forgiven for their “serious breach” of the rules had the ad aired just once, but the promotion was broadcast nine times on a Saturday morning back in May of this year, which is primetime viewing for children kick-starting their weekend with some cartoon antics.
The Advertising Standards Agency says that Turner Broadcasting has “apologized unreservedly” for the hiccup, and has explained that the ad was broadcast, repeatedly, in error.
Action Figure Used
But what’s worse is that the Coral ad actually involved one of children’s most beloved all-time favorite characters and Marvel Comics hero, the Incredible Hulk. This simply provided more ammunition to those who claim that gambling promotion targets children.
The TV spot opened with a voiceover which said “This is Coral gaming, online and on mobile,” before cutting to a shot of the green superhero, and saying “New players get a free £10 gaming bonus.”
Coral Group Trading Ltd. noted that they were “horrified” at the news that their ad had been viewed on children’s channels, and stated that neither they nor their agency had booked advertising air time on those channels.
In fact, when news of the error reached the bookie, all Coral.co.uk ads due to be aired by the broadcasting company were suspended while investigations were carried out.
Turner Broadcasting has had a lucky escape, as the Advertising Standards Agency has acknowledged Turner’s assurance that measures were being taken to prevent the mistake happening again and ruled that no further action need be taken.
The error was said to have occurred as a result of an erroneously allocated booking number which had been given to the TV spot. “We apologize unreservedly and have reviewed our transmission processes to ensure this highly regrettable incident remains a one-off occurrence,” announced Turner Broadcasting of the big “whoops.”