ASA uphold first complaint against Arsenal FC for misleading fans with Crypto-promotions
The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld their first ruling against Arsenal Football Club Plc for being irresponsible and misleading the public in two promotions of Arsenal ‘s Fan Token ($AFC). Martine Araka, Paralegal at PromoVeritas, explains where the Gunners went wrong.
A post on Arsenal’s Facebook page stated, “$AFC is now live $CHZ” and “what song do you want to hear when we win? Download the Socios app to get your token and vote”. Also, content published on Arsenal’s official website, titled “$AFC Fan Token: Everything you need to know” with information on how to buy the Arsenal Fan Token using the cryptocurrency $CHZ with text at the bottom of the page outlining the risk of investments.
The ASA challenged both ads on the grounds that they were irresponsible as they trivialised engaging with and investing in crypto assets and they were misleading because a) they did not make it clear that the Arsenal Fan Token is a crypto asset; and b) they failed to illustrate the risk of the investment.
Arsenal responded by explaining that there were two versions of the Arsenal Fan Token. The Facebook ad was only intended to promote a member only free token, which could not be transferred or traded and therefore was not considered an investment. Secondly, that the website ad contained information about paid tokens but included a risk warning.
Considering whether the Facebook ad was intended to promote a free token, the ASA noted that the ad was posted on Arsenal’s general Facebook page, referenced $CHZ the cryptocurrency used to purchase Arsenal Fan tokens, and did not mention the word ‘’free’’, therefore the ASA concluded that the ad was not targeted only at members, and promoted the paid token. The ASA also noted that because both ads were directed to the public, they should have contained risk warnings and information about Capital Gains Tax since consumers would be less likely to be familiar with the tax implications of cryptoassets. Since this was missing, the ASA upheld their decision that both ads were misleading. Considering the risk warning on the website ad, the ASA noted that the warning itself appeared at the bottom of the page, making it likely for consumers to miss it. Equally, the warning did not advise consumers that paid- Tokens were unregulated in the UK. The ASA therefore upheld its ruling that both ads were irresponsible.