It’s a good bet that British online wagering site Paddy Power will produce a controversial advertisement and the company did not disappoint recently.
An ad aired on television in August was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for being “socially irresponsible.” The violation of the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising ruling was posted on the regulatory body’s website on Wednesday.
In the 30-second spot a casino security guard is shown singing made up lyrics to the song “Papa Loves Mambo” while eating a sandwich. One of the lines says, “Yeah I’ll have a spin on it, when I’m on break, the daily jackpot’s looking great now.” He then is shown using the company’s slot games on his phone.
The ASA received two complaints from viewers that said this promoted gambling at work. Paddy Power officials disagreed pointing out that the guard was on a break and only spun once. They also contend that the code does not apply to gambling in a casino and should be exempt.
The regulators rejected that argument and ordered them to stop showing the commercial. The added in their ruling that it violated the standards.
“Because the ad featured gambling in a working environment, which was prohibited under the BCAP Code, we considered the ad portrayed gambling behavior that was socially irresponsible,” the ruling read.
Mayweather Ad Backfires
This is the third action against the company in two years. In July 2016 the ASA received 12 complaints about what they thought were claims about bets on a horse racing festival. They agreed it was misleading and ordered the company not to run the ad in its current form.
Paddy Power received a much stronger rebuke in August when it had a print ad about the upcoming Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight at TMobile Arena in Las Vegas that month.
The ad had the headline “ALWAYS BET ON BLACK” alongside an image of the African American boxer.
Nine people filed formal objections that said it was derogatory and racially insensitive. The online bookmaker said it was a pun and a reference to a roulette saying. “It was not used in a derogatory, distasteful or offensive manner and the overall tone of the ad was light-hearted and humorous,” an official explained. The ASA again decided against the operator.
History of Controversial Commercials
The irreverent online gaming website has a history of pushing the envelope of good taste. They have had several questionable advertisements throughout the years.
One was of two elderly women in a cross walk with circles near them. One says 2-1 and the other says 4-1. There is oncoming traffic and the caption says, “Let’s make things more interesting.”
Another showed transvestites at a horseracing track for Ladies Day and suggested attendees try and “spot the stallions from the mares.”
In March the site was looking for a person to become Head of Trump Betting, lampooning the president with odds on everything from how long his presidency would last and if he would grow a Hitler mustache.