Paddy Power Betfair new ad director, dodges ASA censure over Liverpool ad

paddy-power-betfair-robertson-liverpoolOnline betting behemoth Paddy Power Betfair had promoted longtime Paddy person Ken Robertson to the position of advertising director.

Robertson (pictured), a 16-year Paddy Power veteran, had previously served in a number of roles with the Irish betting operator, and held the company’s infamous ‘head of mischief’ title from 2011 to 2014.

Robertson’s new job will see him head up a 50-person team overseeing all European advertising for the enlarged Paddy Power Betfair business. The news comes one week after the company revealed plans to cut nearly 10% of its staff to realize the promised synergies from the merger of Paddy Power and Betfair.

One can only hope that Robertson will continue to push the advertising envelope, like Paddy Power’s recent outdoor poster that simultaneously mocked the injury prone English Premier League side Liverpool FC and pissed off people with disabilities, or at least, people who felt people with disabilities should be pissed off. Or something.

The ad, which appeared on Liverpool streets this January, featured large type reading “You’ll never walk alone” with smaller type adding “(or ever again if you play for Klopp)”. The ad also featured an image of a wheelchair with “Property of L.F.C.” written on the back of the seat.

The ad played on the fact that 13 Liverpool FC players had recently suffered leg injuries, which many commentators had blamed on the arduous practices imposed by the club’s new manager, Jurgen Klopp.

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received two complaints from individuals questioning whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Paddy Power responded by acknowledging that the ad was “distasteful” but insisted that Liverpudlians would have got the joke.

The ASA sided with Paddy Power, saying the comments regarding the inability to walk were “clearly and immediately connected” to the idea of playing for Klopp. That, and the clear indication that the wheelchair belonged to LFC, led the ASA to conclude that “LFC players and their current injuries, rather than those with a disability, were the target of the humor.”