Glamourising gambling and references to an alleged affair involving former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs resulted in Paddy Power’s advert receiving the red card
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) isn’t known for letting things slide. Last October it gave Ford a slap on the wrist for suggesting driving to vent “everyday frustrations”. And earlier this year in January, Red Bull was in the doghouse with claims its beverage brings health benefits. So when gambling was advertised as a route to wealth, the ASA didn’t hold back.
Paddy Power, the bookmaker, was the particular business lined up in the ASA’s sights having shot a TV ad featuring its new Rewards Club loyalty scheme ambassador Rhodri Giggs – brother of former Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs. The spot depicts a day in the life of Giggs, complete with champagne-sipping and driving a supercar while claiming he’s “always lived a loyal life.” However, he then goes on to conclude: “Problem is, loyalty gets you nowhere – live for rewards instead. That’s why I’m Paddy’s Rewards Club ambassador.”
The ASA promptly banned the campaign after receiving five complaints it glamorised gambling. Specifically, it found Paddy Power in breach of BCAP rules safeguarding responsible advertising, including suggesting gambling can enhance personal qualities and be a solution to financial concerns.
When casting its judgement the ASA pointed out the ad also pokes fun at allegations of Giggs’ brother having an affair with his wife. “We considered that created the impression that Rhodri was no longer defined by the alleged affair and that he had moved past his loyalty and was now reaping the rewards, both financially and in terms of his own self-image,” the agency said.
“The ad implied viewers should follow his example and that their route to doing so was joining Paddy Power’s Rewards Club. For that reason, we considered the ad implied gambling was a way to achieve financial security and improved self-image and we concluded the ad was irresponsible”
Although the advert was jovially-natured, there’s no room for bookies, or any businesses, to take risks with air-tight rules over a responsibility to viewers of advertisements.