For the umpteenth time the Paddy Power online and land betting group has been hauled over the coals by the UK Advertising Standards Authority, which has condemned one of the betting group’s video ads as “socially irresponsible”.
The material was aired in August this year and triggered two complaints that it implies that it is acceptable to gamble at work. It depicts a security guard singing the old pop song ‘Papa Loves Mambo’ while watching casino customers gambling on his monitors.
He turns away from the monitors and is shown gambling on Paddy Power via his smartphone as the song continues, with lyrics like: “Yeah I’ll have a spin on it, when I’m on break, the daily jackpot’s looking great now”.
The ad ends with the mobile displaying an on-screen text encouraging viewers to sign up to its online casino games.
Paddy Power argued the ad was not irresponsible as it is advertising a gambling product in a casino. It also specifically included a line explaining the security guard was on a break from work – he was shown eating a sandwich to illustrate this. The company also believed the tone of the ad did not encourage behaviour that was socially irresponsible and wouldn’t lead to financial, social or emotional harm.
The ASA dismissed these arguments, finding that although it may be acceptable to depict punters gambling in a casino, the premises remains a working environment for its staff, and the material did not show the security officer leaving his work station.
The Authority noted that advertisements should not normalise or condone gambling whilst at work, and accordingly banned the material as socially irresponsible.