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Paddy Power Pistorius ‘Will He Walk’ Bet Ad Most Complained About Ad Ever

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Mar/19/2014
Paddy Power Pistorius ‘Will He Walk’ Bet Ad Most Complained About Ad Ever

The UK Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) has said that Irish bookmaker Paddy Power’s Oscar Pistorius murder trial 'Money Off If He Walks' ad was the single most complained-about advertisement ever recorded.

Paddy Power was forced to pull the ad after the ASA issued it a dire warning.

The ASA in its findings released Wednesday said: "We acknowledged that the ad had appeared in the context of a high profile murder trial that had received extensive media coverage and was of interest to the public.

"We considered it would therefore have been reasonable to foresee that serious or widespread offence was likely to be caused by placing an ad that sought commercial advantage based on that trial and which made light of the sensitive issues involved.

"Given the content of the ad, and the prevailing circumstances at the time of its publication, we concluded that it brought advertising into disrepute."

The ASA warned that the ad is never to appear again.

"We told Paddy Power to ensure their future ads did not cause serious or widespread offence and did not bring advertising into disrepute."

Paddy Power said it "strongly believed" that offering a market on a leading news story did not trivialise the issues surrounding the murder trial, death or disability.

Over 5000 complaints had been lodged against Paddy at the time they were forced to pull the ad.

The campaign sought to capitalize on the Academy Awards with a caption that read “It’s Oscar Time” and featuring Pistorius as an Oscar statuette.  The advert also posed the question “Will He Walk?”, again, a not-so-subtle reference to Pistorius’ paralysis.

The bookmaker confirmed it had suspended bets despite some 1000 wagers placed on the trial outcome.

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

 

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