Wednesday 13 December 2017

Ad watchdog upholds complaint against Paddy Power over bet on Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius during his trial.
Oscar Pistorius during his trial.
The controversial Paddy Power advertisement
Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

The Irish ad watchdog has upheld a complaint against bookmakers Paddy Power over a controversial promotion on the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI)  received 65 complaints on the ad which said “It’s Oscar time”, “Money back if he walks” and “We will refund all losing bets on the Oscar Pistorius trial if he is found not guilty”.

The complaints objected that the advert trivialised violence and that it was offensive to the victim’s family.

Other complaints objected to the ‘if he walks’ line, saying it was offensive to the disabled as it could have been a reference to Pistorius being a double amputee.

The ASAI also received complaints on the fact the bookmaker was taking bets on a murder trial – however the organisation stated it can only deal with complaints about how it is promoted.

Responding to the complaints, Paddy Power said that the promotion was in response to a widely discussed ‘water cooler’ issue.

It added that the ad did not refer to Ms Steenkamp or her murder – just to the verdict which will be delivered to Pistorius.

The bookmaker did not deny that the ‘if he walks’ line was in reference to Pistorius amputation – however stated it was adult humour for an adult audience.

It also referred to the fact that the company are sponsors of the Irish amputee football team that will compete in the amputee world cup in Mexico in December 2014.

However the ASAI upheld the complaint and ruled it should not be used again

The watchdog also upheld a complaint against Aer Lingus for misleading advertising.

The airline advertised fares from Cork to Heathrow from £55.99 each way in September.

After a customer attempted to book a flight at the price, the cheapest she could find was for £73.99.

The airline responded that the price for the outbound flight was for £73.99, and returning would be £36.99, thus constituting an each way fare of £55.99.

However the ASAI  ruled that customers should expect that an advertised ‘each way’ fare should be available on both legs of the journey.

The complaint was upheld.

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