The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a Paddy Power radio ad because the terms and conditions of the promo were spoken too quickly and too quietly to be intelligible to listeners.
The offending ad spot was promoting Paddy Power’s “Bet Builder” product. It offered a free bet up to £10 if one leg of an accumulator bet was successful.
But the Ts&Cs were garbled by the voiceover artist, and his voice was sufficiently lower in volume to the rest of the ad to render it misleading, according to the ASA.
Astute listeners may have caught that the restricting terms for the promo included minimum odds of 1:5 per leg, a minimum of four legs, a maximum free bet of £10 per day, and an exclusion of enhanced match odds. But the ASA decided that this information would have escaped most prospective customers.
We considered that information about the offer applying to selected online bets was material information that consumers required in order to make an informed decision,” said the ASA. “These, therefore, must be presented to listeners in a clear and intelligible manner.
They added, “Because those conditions had not been presented in a clear and intelligible manner, we concluded that the ad was misleading.”
In its defense, Paddy Power said the voiceover had not been sped up in post-production, and it had been presented without background effects to maximize audio quality.
Rejecting this, the ASA prohibited the ad from being broadcast again in its current form.
‘Money Back if He Walks’
It’s not the first time Paddy Power has fallen afoul of advertising authorities. The company has a long history of employing shock-marketing tactics, although this has been tempered somewhat of late.
The UK gambling industry is facing impending reforms that threaten to tighten regulatory controls and stifle growth. Paddy Power, which once delighted in stirring up outrage, is now part of the Flutter Entertainment conglomerate, and is unwilling to ignite controversy that might unduly irk lawmakers.
Nevertheless, the company holds the record for ASA’s all-time most-complained-about advertisement. In 2014, it offered odds on the result of the Oscar Pretorius trial, unveiling a “money back if he walks” promo.
Famed para-Olympian Pretorius was ultimately convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steemkamp, and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Obama ‘Assassination Odds’
In 2008, on the election of Barak Obama, Paddy Power did not go quite so far as to offer odds on the new US president’s potential assassination. But it gave customers 12-1 that he would not conclude his first term, which could include assassination.
The bet was withdrawn after it caused outrage in the UK and Ireland.
In 2016, the company unveiled an ad asking, “Orange is the New Black?” with odds of Donald Trump succeeding Obama at 3/1.
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