ASA successfully challenges crypto ads

The ASA challenged an ad for Floki Inu, a cryptocurrency, which was made via a poster displayed on the Tube in November 2021.  The poster had a cartoon dog in a Viking helmet with text saying “Missed Doge. Get Floki”, with smaller text at the bottom saying that the investment may go down as well as up in value and that crypto currency is not regulated in the UK.

ASA said that the image and text exploited consumer FOMO and trivialised investment in crypto, and that it took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity.

Floki claimed the CAP had told them the ad complied with the CAP Code and the dog was their corporate logo – so it was not socially irresponsible to display it and would have been misleading not to do so. They also said the logo was humorous and based on Elon Musk’s dog Floki, and that the intended audience was the “informed consumer” who would understand the crypto market, would understand the term “Doge”, that a dog was also the logo for Dogecoin and that Floki Inu was a new cryptocurrency. So the ad was aimed at the informed consumer while protecting the average one with risk warnings.

It also said it had consulted CAP about the risk warnings, and had not been told they should include CGT implications of the warnings – and it did not understand why, given it did not display any values.

The ASA acknowledged Floki Inu’s comments but said the ads were addressed to a general audience and that the overall implication of the ad was that it was necessary to buy Floki Inu immediately.  It did acknowledge the use of the cartoon dog itself would not necessarily trivialise investments, but in context, it was lighthearted and did give the impression that purchasing crypto currency was a light-hearted and trivial matter. It also said that the ad took advantage of consumers by not pointing out that CGT could be payable on investment profits.

ASA held the ad must not appear again in the form complained about.

Emma Radmore