Controversial Paddy Power Blatter Ad Upheld by ASA

Paddy Power Blatter ad upheld, Shearer signs for Coral

PaddyPower’s controversial Blatter ad escapes censure, but the mischievous bookie has been slapped down in the past. (Image: independent.co.uk)

PaddyPower has survived its latest inquisition from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) into a recent ad that exhorted FIFA’s Sep Blatter to “just f***” off already.”

Amusingly, the authority upheld the ad, which was placed in the Guardian newspaper, because it chimed with the public mood, reflecting, in the words of the ASA, fans’ “overwhelming sentiment” that the embattled FIFA chairman should, in fact, just eff-off already.

The ASA was responding to a complaint from a member of the public that the use of the expletive, which featured in PaddyPower’s campaign to advertise odds on the next FIFA chairman, would be likely to cause offense.   

The ASA disagreed: “We considered that readers of that section were likely to understand that the ad was intended to be a lighthearted comment on the ongoing allegations of corruption within FIFA, and in particular the controversy surrounding Sepp Blatter’s tenure as FIFA president,” it ruled.

“In that context, we considered the use of “f***” was unlikely to cause offence to readers,” it concluded.

Pistorius Money-Back Brouhaha

Context, of course is everything, a fact that has often eluded the Irish bookmaker’s marketing department, which will go to great lengths to illicit a controversial reaction.

The company was recently censured by the ASA for an advertisement that offered bets on the Oscar Pistorius murder trial. The offending ad, which went to press on Oscar night last year, stated:

“IT’S OSCAR TIME. MONEY BACK IF HE WALKS. WE WILL REFUND ALL LOSING BETS ON THE OSCAR PISTORIUS TRIAL IF HE IS FOUND NOT GUILTY.”

Naturally, this was deemed to be a bridge too far, but not for the first time. The company was once forced to pull billboard posters that showed Jesus and the Apostles gambling at the Last Supper.

And in 2010, a TV ad that showed a blind footballer kicking a cat into a tree was the most complained about of the year.

Shearer Signs for Coral

When it comes to football/sports betting marketing crossovers, Coral seems to have the right idea.

The company announced this week that it had signed-up former England ace Alan Shearer as its first ever football ambassador.

That nice, safe Mr Shearer will be providing frequent blogs and betting tips to the Coral website with not a hint of controversy in sight. All of these blogs, naturally, must be read in a flat, Geordie monotone.

This is, of course, the correct way to use footballers in your marketing campaigns.

As opposed to PaddyPower, which is currently being sued by ex-Manchester United star and Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane for the unlicensed use of his image in a recent billboard campaign.

Advertising for sports books like PaddyPower and William Hill are always pushing the envelope, but….

Will they ever learn where the line is drawn?

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