Paddy Power has been warned over its future conduct by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) following its investigation into the bookmaker’s newspaper advert in The Sun on Sunday around the Oscar Pistorius trial. The advert, which offered ‘money back if he walks’, promoted a market on whether the South African Olympian would be found guilty or not of the accusation of killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The ASA told the bookmaker that the ad must not appear in its current form and added: “We told Paddy Power to ensure their future ads did not cause serious or widespread offence and did not bring advertising into disrepute.”
Paddy Power and The Sun on Sunday were both of the opinion that the advert did not bring advertising into disrepute, but the ASA disagreed: “We acknowledged that the ad had appeared in the context of a high profile murder trial that had received extensive media coverage and was of interest to the public. We considered it would therefore have been reasonable to foresee that serious or widespread offence was likely to be caused by placing an ad that sought commercial advantage based on that trial and which made light of the sensitive issues involved. Given the content of the ad, and the prevailing circumstances at the time of its publication, we concluded that it brought advertising into disrepute.”