ASAI upholds complaint against 'racist, offensive' Paddy Power ad

The ad ran ahead of Ireland's Six Nations with England in February and referenced the British occupation of Ireland.

ASAI upholds complaint against 'racist, offensive' Paddy Power ad

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) has upheld six complaints against a Paddy Power ad that was described as "racist, offensive, anti-English in sentiment".

The ad ran ahead of Ireland's Six Nations with England in February and referenced the British occupation of Ireland.

It said, "Sorry for the last two years of pain, suffering and humiliation. Another 798 and we'll be even. Paddy Power."

The bookmaker said the ad was "a satirical joke" that referenced the sporting rivalry between the two nations, as well as recent Irish rugby victories and Brexit. It said it was not intended to incite hatred but was "tongue-in-cheek".

Complainants said it was "stirring up anti-English feelings, and both highly insensitive and bigoted towards English people".

ASAI noted the ad's intention but said the history between the countries meant that it was "likely to cause offence".

This was one of 19 ads found to have been in breach of the ASAI code. Six complaints were not upheld.

Among those upheld was an ad by Shandon Travel/Sayit referencing a US SIM Card with "unlimited data" for J1 students. The card had a fair-use limit of 2GB, which was not stated in their ad. ASAI said while the marketing communication included links to terms and conditions, it was "not immediately apparent to consumers".

Six complaints related to fast food or junk food, including one complaint by the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) against Apache Pizza in which Apache made reference to eating leftover pizza for lunch with the tagline "I'm really getting into this meal prep thing…”

IHF said it was "irresponsible to suggest that meal preparation should take the form of pizza slices".

Apache Pizza immediately withdrew the ad following the complaint. They said it had "never been their intention to encourage unhealthy eating habits". The complaint was upheld in part.

Complaints against Virgin Media,, the Make Up Fairy, Flahavan's, Rosanna Davision Nurtition, Argos and Dublin Business School were among the others upheld by ASAI.

Meanwhile, ASAI rejected a complaint against Tesco relating to an ad for their home delivery service.

The ad featured a delivery man bringing shopping into a couple's kitchen and stocking their fridge while the couple watches television.

The complainant said the ad was "misleading" as "when Tesco delivered shopping they did not put the shopping in the fridge for their customers".

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