UK Advertising Regulator Bans Floki Crypto Ad

ASA Classifies Floki Inu Campaign as Irresponsible

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) published its ruling on the Floki Inu (FLOKI) ad campaign on Wednesday (March 2, 2022). According to the ASA, the crypto ad was labeled irresponsible for two reasons.

One was that the campaign exploited consumers’ FOMO (fear of missing out) while also minimizing the reality of risks associated with crypto investment. The other reason was that the advertisement “took advantage of consumers’ inexperience or credulity.”

The team behind the Floki Inu ad campaign began an “aggressive” campaign of its meme coin back in October 2021. The crypto advert targeted London’s public transportation network, with the slogan “Missed Doge? Get Floki.”

According to data from Coingecko, the Floki meme coin, which got its name from the Shiba Inu dog owned by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, began trading at $0.000000084280 in July 2021. It reached an all-time high of $0.00033651 later in November.

It is currently drawing at $0.00004062, dropping nearly 90% from its peak.

Furthermore, Floki Inu ads have not been without controversy, with Sian Berry, a member of the London Assembly and a former co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, asking that cryptocurrency ads be banned from the city’s transportation network. Berry added that such “unregulated and risky schemes” should not be advertised to Londoners.

Floki Refutes ASA’s Claims

Floki Ltd., the entity behind the meme coin, responded to the ASA’s claims, arguing that they submitted the ad to the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). The agency stated that the campaign was in line with the CAP code. Also, the crypto advert was aimed at the “informed consumer” and not the general consumer.

According to Floki Ltd., the so-called informed consumer already possessed knowledge about cryptocurrency and could decide whether they wanted to invest in crypto or not.

Furthermore, the entity argued that the campaign included a risk warning which already explained that crypto was unregulated and the asset was volatile. Such information was sufficient to deter the “average consumer” from rushing to invest in the token.

Despite the response from Floki Ltd., the ASA upheld its claims, stating that the use of cartoon imagery trivialized the seriousness of crypto investment and said that the Floki Inu had, in fact, breached CAP code rules. The advertising regulator concluded by stating that “the ad must not appear again in the form complained about.”

ASA: Consumer Safeguard or Crypto Buzzkill?

The latest development comes shortly after the ASA banned certain advertisements from English football club Arsenal, which was promoting its crypto fan token, AFC. Similar to Floki’s case, the watchdog determined the ad did not properly warn consumers that crypto was unregulated and volatile. The ASA ruled the campaign was irresponsible and misleading.

The ASA has been on a crypto ad ban spree in recent times, often stating that such promotions take advantage of consumers’ naivety and failed to emphasize the risks of cryptocurrency investments. In December alone, the regulator cracked down on campaigns from crypto exchanges such as Coinbase, Kraken, Luno, Exmo, eToro, CoinBurp, and pizza chain Papa John’s.

Luno’s ad was first banned by the regulator earlier in May 2021, with Coinfloor getting a similar ruling two months prior.

It remains to be seen if crypto companies will be able to meet the ASA’s rigid standards, and thus be allowed to serve their ads to British consumers in the future.

It remains to be seen if crypto companies will be able to meet the ASA’s rigid standards and present approved ads to British consumers in the future.

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