Paddy Power Advert Banned for Promoting Gambling at Work

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has responded to complaints that a new Paddy Power advert promotes gambling in the workplace, by ordering the Irish betting company to pull it.

The ad, which features a security guard at a land-based casino venue playing Paddy Power slots on his phone whilst singing the Papa Loves Mambo song, received two complaints in total.

Paddy Power argues that because the advert shows that the employee is on a break, signalled by the character turning away from his computer screen, it hadn’t breached the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP). Paddy Power claims that this action of looking away from the screen was deliberate, in order to comply with the rules.

There is an exception to the ASA code which allowed adverts featuring gambling in a working environment, provided the action takes places on licensed gambling premises. However, the ASA ruled that the Paddy Power advert was still in breach as the “the exception did not extend to allowing the depiction of licensed premises staff gambling in their own working environment.”

The advert was deemed to have breached two codes in total. The first, that condones normalising gambling in working environments and a second which condones encouraging gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm.

The video first aired in August 2017. ASA’s new chairman, Lord David Currie, previously raised concerns over the “unforeseen consequences” of legalising gambling advertisements on TV and radio 10 years ago.

This is not the first time Paddy Power has been in hot water with the standards agency. In August, during the build-up to the high-profile Connor McGregor versus Floyd Mayweather boxing match, the company ran a campaign with the slogan “always bet on black” advising viewers to back Mayweather. In 2015 Paddy Power ran a campaign surrounding the murder trial of Oscar Pistorious. The campaign slogan offered players “money back if he walks”.

The Paddy Power advert that caused controversy in August 2017.

The Paddy Power advert that caused controversy in August 2017 ©The Drum.

The ASA has threatened Paddy Power with a pre-vetting process for future adverts if it continues to cause widespread offense with its campaigns.

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