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ASA To Investigate New Paddy Power Advert After Receiving Viewer Complaints

May 11, 2010

I gave my reaction to the new Paddy Power advert here at Same Difference last month, when the advert was first released, so I am very pleased to read this article, pasted below, from the Guardian. I hope the ASA investigation leads to the advert being removed from public viewing.

The advertising watchdog is to investigate a Paddy Power TV ad featuring a team of sight-impaired footballers accidentally kicking a cat into a tree after receiving more than 400 complaints that it is offensive and encourages cruelty to animals.

The campaign, which launched last month, forms part of a major marketing push in the run-up to the World Cup.

Despite the ad being approved by Clearcast, the body that vets TV items before their broadcast, the commercial has hit a nerve with the public, with more than 400 lodging complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ASA said most complainants claimed the ad was offensive in the way it portrayed sight-impaired people and because it “might encourage or condone cruelty to animals”. The ASA added that it has launched an investigation to ascertain whether the commercial breaks the advertising code.

To gain clearance, Paddy Power ensured the TV ad featured some genuine sight-impaired footballers – several of whom are likely to represent England in this summer’s World Blind Football Championships, including the team captain, Ajmal Ahmed – rather that featuring only actors.

However this would not be known to viewers, which may go some way to explaining the significant number of complaints the ad regulator has received.

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