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Arsenal losing appeal over misleading crypto advertising

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Arsenal losing appeal over misleading crypto advertising

Premier League giants Arsenal FC have lost an appeal and received a second warning from the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over ‘misleading’ marketing of not fungible tokens (NFT).

The club were censured in December for the material by their partner Socios and appealed the decision, only for the ASA defend original complaint, but on revised grounds.

Last August, Arsenal posted an advert on their Facebook page telling fans they could decide what song is played in the stadium after a win by downloading the Socios app and buying fan tokens.

Socios is a leading fan token creator that describes itself as giving fans a “share of influence” over their teams.

The advert on the club’s Facebook page was followed by a website post titled “$AFC Fan Token: Everything You Need to Know”. Despite the apparently detailed nature of the message, the ASA reported advertising on grounds that have misled investors and failed to properly highlight the risk of investing in cryptocurrency.

Arsenal’s response was swift, with the club saying the website posting was detailed enough to highlight the risks of investing in digital assets. The club argued that fans were being asked to only buy what they could afford and appealed against the decision.

The ASA confirms its decision

The ASA upheld its decision on several grounds. The authority wrote in its decision that the advertisement was misleading because it did not disclose to consumers that the tokens were crypto assets, “which could only be obtained by opening a crypto asset exchange account, and in the case of paid fan tokens, required the purchase of another cryptocurrency.

Other reasons for the decision included taking advantage of consumer inexperience and trivializing the act of investing in cryptocurrencies.

Arsenal have been warned by the ASA that the advert in question should no longer appear in the “complained form”. The regulator expects the marketing of Arsenal’s digital assets to be clear and should not omit the risks associated with cryptocurrency investments.

Industry braces for increased scrutiny

Across the UK, regulators are double efforts to exert control over the cryptocurrency industry. The country’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has grabbed headlines for announcing the tightening of digital asset firms allowed to do business in the country.

FCA and ASA have promised work together to rid the ecosystem of substandard crypto advertisements. Following this, a number of companies received warnings about the nature of their advertisements, including eToro and Papa John’s Pizza.

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