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Tombola bingo the victim of over zealous ASA?

  • 19 Mar 10
  • Written by Charlotte Widmore

Tombola BingoTombola Bingo must sometimes think that the ASA is in the pay of rival online bingo sites, because every time they launch a TV advertising campaign, it seems almost inevitably some sort of complaint is made and the Advertising Standards Authority ends up banning their ads.  This time the offending TV advert featured an elegant middle aged white man promoting the benefits of playing at Tombola and a black gentleman gently playing a ukulele, whilst singing the same words spoken by the middle aged man.  Both men are seen sitting beside a beach fire on a tropical island, the black man ‘Tito’ seems very cheery and looks as if he could live locally so is dressed informally for the hot weather, the white man appears to be dressed inappropriately for the climate in a dinner suit and bow tie.

The ASA assessed the advert fully after receiving two complaints they upheld the complainants concerns for the following reason:

‘The ASA considered the humour in the ad was, in part, derived from the scenario of one character playing the ukulele whilst repeatedly singing the message delivered by the other. We considered, however, the relationship between the two characters was defined as the power of the white man over the black man, in which the white man was wearing a suit whereas the black man was casually dressed and was portrayed as less intelligent in that he repeated everything the white man said even to the extent of repeating ” … thank you Tito … “. We noted that he seemed to look to the white man for reassurance or instruction suggesting that he lacked the confidence or intellect to behave otherwise. We considered that the ad could be interpreted as humiliating, stigmatising or undermining the standing of the black character and was therefore likely to cause serious offence’

Middle aged men might take offence to another ad

Why the Tombola Bingo ad should have been banned due to ‘negative racial stereotypes’ is quite frankly beyond us – possibly banned for being a terrible advert maybe!  The fact is the whole concept of the Hola Tombola TV adverts are that the characters are on a tropical island and as such you might well find the characters featured dressed in tropical print shirts or shorts.  In fact  in another ad the presenter was seen wearing a dinner jacket, shirt, tie and mismatched with floral shorts – should this have been banned because a middle aged man was ‘portrayed as less intelligent’ than the other younger characters featured in the advert who were able to dress appropriately? The Tombola Bingo advert is in our considered opinion far from racist, and if anything this smacks of political correctness gone mad!

Fairground ads considered too attractive to children

Tombola Bingo have clearly pulled out all the stops to make this advert unattractive to minors so as not to breach the previous adjudication in which their Fairground ads breached CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rule 11.10.2(b) as they were considered ‘likely to be of particular appeal to children and young persons’ – see our previous article for the full details on this adjudication.  In trying so hard to make the ads unattractive to children Tombola actually made the ads unattractive to virtually all the general public too. May be Tombola should just picture a stationary image of a bingo ball and some backing music for their next ad – even then the ASA will no doubt find them guilty of breaching some random CAP code or another.  Readers can find the full adjudication by clicking the link.

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