New Guidelines Force UK Gaming Brands to Avoid Child-Like Adverts

UK gaming companies will no longer be able to use young celebrities or animations that might appeal to children thanks to new advertising guidelines.

UK gaming advertising guidelines

New advertising guidelines mean UK gaming operators will have to take more care when promoting their products. (Image: Financial Times)

Coming into force on April 1, the new rules follow a review of gaming and the effects it can have on children. Highlighting the results and subsequent guidelines, the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) said new restrictions will help protect minors.

For Adult Eyes Only

Over the last three years, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has taken action against operators using potentially child-like material. In 2015, Ladbrokes pulled an email campaign that featured former Manchester United forward Memphis Depay.

Despite being over 18, the Dutch player was only 21 at the time of the advert. With UK gaming companies banned from using anyone under the age of 25, Ladbrokes was forced to cancel the campaign.

In 2018, also found itself on the wrong wide of the ASA. By featuring the slot game Fairy Tale Legends: Red Riding Hood in an online advert, the casino was deemed to be indirectly appealing to children.

Although the ASA doesn’t have the power to issue fines, it did call for the advert to be taken offline.

Building on these foundations, CAP has said celebrities who appear under the age of 25 must not appear in promotional material. Additionally, UK gaming operators must prevent adverts from  appearing on children’s sections of websites.

UK Gaming Brands Could Ditch Social Media Ads

The final guideline pertains to social media. As advertising methods have evolved, more UK gaming brands are using social media influencers to push their products.

As of April 1, companies won’t be able to use influencers if the majority of their followers aren’t over the age of 18. This rule is an interesting as it highlights the potential dangers of advertising on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.

Although social media influencers will have access to follower stats, obtaining the information prior to launching a campaign could be difficult. What’s more, processes such as retweets are beyond a poster’s control, meaning content could inadvertently be seen by minors.

Because of this, UK gaming operators may reassess their approach to social media given how hard it can be to regulate activity on these platforms.

What’s clear, however, is that operators will now have to take more care creating promotional content and distributing it.

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