Paddy Power Claims New Honor: Most Complaints on an Ad
Ireland’s biggest independent bookmaker has a reputation for off-the-wall promotions but their recent, “Money back if he walks,” Oscar Pretorious murder trial promotions was one for the books.
The controversial wagering promo generated a whopping 5,525 complaints to the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). That’s more than three times as many as the second-most complained about ad, which was from Bookings.com.
ASA boss Guy Parker didn’t seem too surprised by the volume of complaints generated by Paddy Power and put the blame more on social media than the Irish bookmaker telling CalvinAyre.com:
2014 was the year social media came into its own in making it easier than ever to lodge complaints en masse. While some ads will inevitably split opinion, as the diverse nature of complaints we received shows, last year underlined the importance of our work in cracking down on misleading ads, including copycat websites, that are simply unfair to consumers.
All those complaints were enough to get the ASA to pull the ad, but not before Paddy Power grabbed reams of free publicity.
In an interview with eGaming Review, a Paddy Power publicist expressed no regrets:
We went into Pistorius with our eyes wide open and fully aware that it might stir controversy. However, as the biggest news story on the planet and as the main topic of discussion around water coolers, we wouldn’t be true to ourselves had we not taken bets on it. In hindsight, the feeling is that it was the right decision and we would 100% do it again
And why would they have any regrets? Here we are nearly a year after the promotion first started and the story still has legs.
Just to show that they’ve truly learned their lesson about this type of promotion, Paddy Power is currently taking action on what name Bruce Jenner will take when he completes his gender reassignment process.