Paddy Power censured by ASA over Mayweather advert
The UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has censured Paddy Power over an advert featuring boxer Floyd Mayweather.
First published on August 23 in the Evening Standard newspaper, the advert ran with the headline claim ‘Always Bet On Black’ alongside an image of Mayweather.
Paddy Power had ran the advert informing punters that it had opted to pay out early on Mayweather to win a recent bout with mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor.
However, the ASA said it received nine complaints about the advert, related to a reference to Mayweather’s race, with complainants challenging if the advert was likely to cause “serious of widespread offence” as a result.
In its official ruling, the ASA agreed with complainants in that the headline would be interpreted to be a pun on Mayweather’s race and some consumers could take offence to the ad.
“We considered that readers would interpret the headline to be a pun on Floyd Mayweather’s race and betting on roulette,” the ASA said.
“We understood that the headline was also intended to be a reference to a 1992 film quote.
“There was, however, nothing further in the ad, which indicated that the headline was a film quote, and we considered that many readers would be unfamiliar with the quote.
“We acknowledged that the headline claim did not make a negative statement about Floyd Mayweather’s race and had endorsed him to win the match; we also acknowledged that Floyd Mayweather had authorised the claim.
“However, we considered that readers would nevertheless be offended by the invitation to always bet on the outcome of a boxing match based on a boxer’s race, and the message that the boxing match was a fight between two different races.
“For those reasons, we concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence on the grounds of race.”
Paddy Power has built up a reputation for its “mischievous” advertising and has incurred the wrath of the ASA on a number of times in recent years.
In 2014, the bookmaker’s advert about South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius attracted more complaints than any other advert in that year.
Responding to the latest ASA ruling, a Paddy Power statement published by The Guardian newspaper said: “The line was approved by Mayweather who saw it as a humorous dig at his rival before the fight.
“The wording was, in fact, branded on to Mayweather’s shorts for the weigh-in, at the request of the American fighter’s agents.”
This week, Paddy Power was also forced to issue an apology after mistakenly offering odds on a former footballer who died earlier this year becoming the next manager of English Championship team Birmingham City.
Ugo Ehiogu, who died in April, was included on a list of possible candidates for the job, although Paddy Power acknowledged its error and removed the odds shortly after publishing the list.