The U.K. advertising watchdog has banned ads that appeared across the London public transport system touting a memecoin known as Floki Inu. The ad was irresponsible, the regulator ruled, stating that the project sought to exploit people’s natural fear of missing out.
In a recent statement, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) announced that it had banned the ad which contained an image of a cartoon dog wearing a Viking helmet as well as text that read, “MISSED DOGE. GET FLOKI.”
DOGE is a memecoin that dates back to 2013 and that shot up to become one of the most valuable digital assets, pushed to the top primarily by the fear of missing out (FOMO) and a bullish market in which every other project was going up, even when the token is practically worthless. DOGE also benefited from celebrity endorsements, with the key character being Tesla CEO Elon Musk who has pushed the project relentlessly.
DOGE created a roadmap which other memecoins (which refers to a digital currency created with no particular purpose or challenge to solve) have stuck to—release a ludicrously high number of tokens, push it through celebrities, giveaways and advertising and then wait for it to shoot to dizzying heights, or ‘to the moon’ in digital currency lingo.
Floki Inu is one of the many that have been seeking to replicate this success, but as the ASA noted, it went too far in its bid to promote its token.
The ad targeted investors’ FOMO, the ASA ruled. By linking to DOGE, Floki wanted to imprint in investors’ minds that its token would shoot up just as DOGE had.
“…the implication of the ad for all consumers was still that it was necessary to purchase Floki immediately to make a significant profit and prevent consumers missing out,” the ASA said.
The agency also took offense with the use of the cartoon dog wearing a Viking helmet. While Floki Ltd clarified that this was its official logo and brand image, the ASA still considered it an effort to trivialize investing in the volatile digital asset market.
“…we considered that the use of cartoon imagery gave the impression that purchasing cryptocurrency was a light-hearted and trivial matter. As such, it distracted consumers from the seriousness of an investment which was volatile and unregulated,” it ruled.
The ASA has continued to pursue firms whose digital currency-related ads don’t meet the U.K.’s advertising standards. Digital asset firms such as Crypto.com and Coinfloor have had to take down their ads, in both digital and print format, for failing to adhere to the ASA guidelines.
Watch: CoinGeek New York panel, Media Influence: How News Reporting Affects the Digital Asset Market
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