An “irresponsible” tweet by Ladbrokes has been banned for featuring Jake Paul, a YouTuber and professional boxer who is a favourite among teenagers.
The ad on the bookmaker’s Twitter feed, seen in February, featured an image of Paul and a caption saying: “@TommyTNTFury beat @JakePaul by split decision last night. So, we’ve got to ask the question… What’s next for Jake Paul? Vote here now.”
At the bottom of the tweet was a poll with the options: “Win the re-match”, “Head to the MMA”, “Return to YouTube” and “Join the WWE”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) investigated whether the ad breached rules for including an individual likely to be of strong appeal to under-18s.
Ladbrokes said the ad was published after the fight between Jake Paul and Tommy Fury and did not include any “calls to action”, promotional offers or links back to its site.
It said its Twitter feed and respective tweets were age-gated and could not be accessed by users unless Twitter had accepted their age as being over 18.
Ladbrokes acknowledged that Jake Paul has a significant social media following but said details of his follower demographics suggested that 16% of his YouTube subscribers were registered as being between 13 and 17 years old, while 0% of his Twitter followers were “registered as being under 18”.
The ASA said Jake Paul is primarily known for making YouTube videos and had 65 million followers across YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Twitter – with around three million registered as under 18 on each of the YouTube, TikTok and Instagram platforms.
The ASA said Paul is of “inherent strong appeal to under-18s”.
The watchdog said Paul featured on the Disney Channel from 2016 to 2018 on the children’s TV programme Bizaardvark, about two teenagers, and it was likely that some of that audience would still have been under 18 when the Ladbrokes ad appeared.
The ASA said: “Whilst the programme had ended in 2019 in the US, we considered that he was still well known for having appeared on that programme and that it was still available on UK streaming services.
“We therefore considered that Jake Paul had strong appeal to under-18s.
“For those reasons, we considered that the ad was irresponsible and breached the Code.”
The ASA said the ad must not appear again, adding: “We told LC International Ltd, trading as Ladbrokes, not to include a person or character who had strong appeal to those under 18 years of age.”
Press Association – Josie Clarke