Paddy Power told Pistorius ad ‘pushing boundaries’

Paddy Power has been warned by the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland that many members of the public do not appreciate or accept the level to which the bookmaker seeks to “push the boundaries” in its media campaigns.

Paddy Power told Pistorius ad ‘pushing boundaries’

The warning came as ASAI upheld a complaint against Paddy Power’s advert in relation to the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.

The advert, which was reproduced both online and on its website, showed an Oscar statuette with the face of the South African athlete. Alongside that was written: “Oscar Time. Money back if he walks. We will refund all losing bets on the Oscar Pistorius trial if he is found not guilty.”

ASAI received 65 complaints about the advertisement, including that it was offensive as it trivialised domestic violence and murder and undermined justice and the seriousness of a criminal act; that it was offensive to victims, their families, and women; that the reference to “if he walks” was offensive to the disabled as it referred to the fact that Mr Pistorius is a double amputee.

The bookmaker responded with a detailed defence of the advertisement that included noting there was no reference to murder, death, or violence or to any dead person in the ad and that the “very subtle” reference to the fact that Mr Pistorius is a double amputee contrasted with “the many more mainstream reference to amputees that go unchallenged daily”.

However, ASAI ruled the advertisement should not be used again in any media, adding that “the advertisers were reminded that, depending on the media selected, advertising can be seen by large sections of the population, including many who do not appreciate or accept the level to which they claim to “push the boundaries” in some campaigns”.

ASAI also upheld a complaint in relation to the Aghadoe Heights Hotel in Killarney, Co Kerry and its reference to “lakeside” rooms.

The complainant said the hotel was not situated “lakeside” and that, while there was a view of the lake, it was over 3km from the hotel.

In its defence, the hotel pointed out it had been advertising in that way for more than 14 years and had not received any complaints from any customer who had purchased a “lakeside” room.

“The complaints committee advised the advertiser not to refer to the rooms in their advertising as lakeside,” ASAI said.

Fares issues

Aer Lingus has had a complaint against it upheld over an advert offering flights to Cork from Heathrow for £55.99 (€73.16) which the complainant could not access.

An email offered travel from British airports to Irish destinations for discounted prices ranging from £32.99-£55.99.

The complainant to the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland said there were no flights in the period of the offer for €55.99 and that the cheapest flight she could access from Heathrow to Cork was £73.99. As a frequent flyer, she considered that the normal fare.

Aer Lingus said the outbound flight was £73.99 and the inbound leg ws £36.99 and that this constituted an each-way fare of £55.99.

The ASAI complaints committee said consumers would expect an “each way” fare to be available on the outward and inward leg of a journey. It said the advertisement must not be used in the same format again.

A complaint was also upheld against Irish Rail.

The complainant objected to an advert offering €9.99 fares around the country. When she went online to book the fare, the price went up to €12.99 when €2 transaction fee and €1 credit card fee was added.

The advertiser said the opening paragraph of the page clearly stated “terms and conditions apply”.

ASAI said the advert must not reappear in its current form.

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