The Advertising Standards Authority in the United Kingdom has banned Floki Inu advertising, stating that they “irresponsibly exploited consumer anxieties of missing out and trivialized cryptocurrencies.”
Floki Inu poster advertisements first appeared on the London Underground, each featuring an animated dog wearing a Viking helmet. “Missing Doge?” reads the enormous, bold letters. Get Floki,” while smaller language warned the audience that the value of their investments could fluctuate, highlighting that cryptocurrency is not regulated in the UK.
The ASA believes that the use of the Shiba Inu cartoon dog and the strong statement exploited consumers’ “fear of missing out (FOMO),” downplayed the hazards of bitcoin investing, and took advantage of consumers’ inexperience. In its defense, Floki Ltd., doing business as Floki Inu, claimed that they had filed the advertisement to the Committee of Advertising Practice and received approval from the committee before displaying the advertisements.
They did not regard the logo as trivializing the investment product, despite the fact that it was their company emblem. The community felt that removing the Elon Musk-inspired emblem would leave customers in the dark about the company behind the commercial. The ASA acknowledged this, but insisted that using a cartoon image trivialized the investment.
Do you consider yourself a “informed consumer?”
Floki Inu claimed that many cryptocurrencies begin as jokes or memes, and that the ad’s intended demographic was the “Informed Consumer.” This “Informed Consumer” ostensibly understood the cryptocurrency market, how it functioned, and the inherent risks of investing. With the appearance of the adverts at London transport poster sites, the UK watchdog dismissed the “educated consumer” argument, arguing that cryptocurrencies’ high profile, topical presence in the media was enough to pique the interest of even relatively naive customers.
Floki argued that the warning about the possibility of loss was intended for the ordinary consumer, who would interpret the ad slogan “Missed Doge, Get Floki” as a wordplay but would require further inquiry to properly grasp the campaign. Concerning the size of the warning language, the ASA considers it was too small, and that the ad’s overarching message was the necessity to purchase Floki.
According to the ASA, marketing Floki Inu with the tagline “Missed Doge?” is illegal. “Get Floki” hinted that Dogecoin was in the same category, leading users to anticipate that Floki Inu would experience a similar price increase. Floki Ltd. argued that it did not promote cryptocurrency as a superior investment or create a sense of urgency among consumers to invest immediately away.
According to the ASA, because bitcoin is a relatively new commodity, the general public is unlikely to be aware of the tax that must be paid. The body also pointed out that there was no information on paying CGT on Floki Inu’s website. The Floki community stated that it was not notified of the prospect of Capital Gains Tax on bitcoin investments, which would have mandated a reference in the advertisement.
The watchdog has banned similar Floki Inu advertisements.
The ASA stated that the advertising should not be repeated in its current form in the future. They warned Floki Ltd. not to exploit consumers’ fears of missing out, not to trivialize cryptocurrency investments, and to inform consumers of the possibility of paying CGT on cryptocurrency gains, in accordance with CAP Code rules 1.3 and 14.1: “Marketing communications must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and society,” and “Offers of financial products must be set out in a way that allows them to be easily understood by the audience being addressed.” Marketers must take care not to exploit consumers’ inexperience or credulity.”
Floki said that they had gone over every detail of the CAP code and ASA criteria before launching the campaign, believing that the UK watchdog had behaved unfairly by modifying guidelines and retroactively applying them to Floki Inu advertisements. They have, however, agreed to follow the ASA’s new rules in future advertising.