Paddy Power has been ordered not to repeat its ‘It’s Oscar Time… Money Back if he Walks’ campaign by the Advertising Standards Authority. The ad watchdog made its decision after upholding complaints against the Irish bookmaker over what it deemed as a tasteless attempt to make a joke out of domestic violence.
The ASA released a detailed ruling of the controversy, calling Paddy’s attempt to get people interested in the Oscar Pistorius trial a breach in advertisers’ code.
Paddy initially earned the wrath of countless people after it released an advert of the South African athlete’s face on an Academy Award statuette and offered to refund all wagers on the verdict of Pistorius’ murder case with the tagline “money back if he walks.” Complaints came fast and furious over what some saw as Paddy’s attempt to trivialize a decidedly non-funny incident.
Yet for all the brouhaha this has caused, the punishment is tantamount to a finger wag and a slap on the wrist.
The advertising watchdog even acknowledged as much, pointing out that it can’t do anything to punish Paddy Power outside of addressing the complaints made about the ad itself. So we’re betting that the Irish jokesters won’t have any problems brushing this one off and concentrating on their next stunt.
But ever the true champion of defending its own actions, Paddy remained firm in its belief that while it does skirt that thin line of decency with its campaigns, it understands that crossing it entirely is something it tries to stay away from. Heck, it even tried the age-old strategy of covering up its dirt with a clean cloth by pointing out its “proud” sponsorship of the Irish amputee football team which will compete in the amputee world cup in Mexico next December.
At the very least, you still can count on Paddy Power’s penchant to show up on any given time at any given place with a new stunt to pull (see: Moyes-Grim Reaper).