The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), upheld complaints made regarding Paddy Power’s controversial ‘always bet on black’ advertising campaign in the build up to the recent Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor bout.
The Paddy Power promotional campaign followed up the bookmaker’s decision to pay out on Mayweather three days before the fight took place.
The campaign was endorsed by the American fighter, who even went as far as to don a pair of embroidered Paddy Power pants at the weigh in. Responding to the complaints, Paddy Power claimed that Floyd found the slogan ‘funny, rather than offensive or derogatory.’
Although Paddy Power acknowledged that the headline did refer to the race of the fighter, they denied it was used in a ‘derogatory, distasteful or offensive manner’ adding that ‘the overall tone of the ad was light-hearted and humorous.’
The Irish bookmaker also stated that the promotional tagline was a recognisable film quote from Wesley Snipes in the 1992 hit, Passenger 57, as well as a reference to roulette, which was relevant given the fight was taking place in Las Vegas.
Despite coming to the conclusion that the ad didn’t contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, that advertising watchdog deemed that it did breach CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and Offence) and told Paddy Power to ensure they avoided causing serious offence on the grounds of race.