In July 2008, Foxy Bingo was the subject of a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The complaint was lodged by just one person, who “challenged whether the 'Foxy' character [seen on Foxy Bingo adverts] would be likely to appeal to children.”
The complaint was related to an advert in which Foxy struts down a street in his suit and women emerge from shops to follow him to a party. The advert clearly stated: “Terms and conditions apply. Over 18's only” and gave the web site address for “gambleaware.co.uk”. At the end of the advert, on-screen text announced: “Foxy Bingo.com £10 Free! £10 for game play. No deposit required”.
Cashcade Ltd, which owns and operates Foxy Bingo, defended the advertisement, saying that they “did not believe the ad contained any material that could lead to the moral, social or psychological harm of children”. It pointed out that Foxy himself is dressed as an older gentleman, complete with walking stick, whilst the song used in the advert (the 1979 Sister Sledge hit We Are Family) was selected to appeal to viewers aged 35 and over. The company also pointed out that the average age of cast members in the advert was also more than 35 years, and that because the advertisement was promoting a gambling product, it was scheduled to appear adjacent to programmes appealing to viewers aged 18 and over.
The ASA did not uphold the complaint, and said: “We investigated the ad under CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rule 11.10.2 (b) (Rules for gambling advertisements) but did not find it in breach.”
Whether the complaint originated from a genuinely concerned viewer or from a mischievous back-room member of a rival bingo company isn’t for us to speculate (though we just did – sorry) but we’re glad that common sense won the day.