Insights Is “The Goonies” of particular appeal to under-18s?


Perhaps it’s a fault of my parents for not showing me ‘good’ films to watch when I was growing up, but as a 31 year old who has never heard of “The Goonies”, I was surprised to see that a recent paid-for Facebook post for Ladbrokes with the title “Play The Goonies Jpk at Ladbrokes. Get 30+ Free Spins on top of your £50…” had received a complaint that it was likely to be of particular appeal to those under 18 years of age.

Ladbrokes took appropriate steps not to include any of “The Goonies” characters in the ad, nor did it include other imagery from the film.  When questioned they explained that “the film had been released in 1985 and was not a current or recent film that would be well known to children in 2021”.  When reviewing the complaint, the ASA found that the targeting of the ad was based on an audience which had self-reported their age and where there were otherwise no prohibitions on under-18s. It was therefore noted that steps could not be taken to ensure that under-18s, who falsely reported their age, were not exposed to the ad. The key question is whether the ad complied with the CAP Code’s requirement that gambling ads must not be of particular appeal to children (Code 16.3.12).

Of course, when the film was released in 1985, it was targeted at children under the age of 18; however, as these children are now closer to 40, the question is whether this film would still be of appeal to children under the age of 18. In a world of Disney remakes, Marvel superhero films and of course the greatest cartoon of all time – the Simpsons, the ASA took the view that, given its popularity among adults, they did not consider that an advert referencing “The Goonies” was likely to appeal more to under-18s than over-18s.

The full decision can be read here.