After complaints against a Paddy Power TV ad, The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has decided to uphold one complaint and opted not to uphold two others. The ad in question features a man and woman in her family home, the man is playing Paddy Power’s Wonder Wheel, a free game where players get a free spin a day. While busy playing on his phone the man’s girlfriend asks, do you think one day I will look like my mother, to which he replies, ‘I hope so’. The ad voiceover then says, “So no matter how badly you stuff it up, you’ll always get another chance at Paddy Power Games.”
Encouraged Irresponsible Gambling
The complainants cited in their opinion the ad depicted a man so engrossed in his gambling he didn’t realise what he had said. The voiceover, according to the view of the complainants encouraged irresponsible gambling. These complaints were upheld by the ASA as they felt the ad did depict someone making gambling a priority over family life, and the voiceover, in particular the “stuff it up” referenced gambling even in the event of losses being encouraged which is socially irresponsible. Paddy Power responded to the accusations by saying they did not think the ad encouraged irresponsible gambling in the face of losses.
“Stuff it Up”
“The “Stuff it up” line should be referenced to the ad as a whole; the man had stuffed up when asked the question by his girlfriend about her mother. Paddy Power believes the line depicted a real-life scenario where a lad “stuffs up” and had no reference to betting. Another line complainants disagreed with was “so no matter how badly you stuff up, you’ll always get another chance with Paddy Power Games”, they felt it encouraged repeated gambling. Paddy Power said the ad referenced the fact customers could have one free bet a day on the Wonder Wheel game. If a user did not win with the free spins in a 24hr period, they would get another free spin the following day In its defense, Paddy Power said the ad did not encourage irresponsible gambling as it was a free game, not a paid game. Players have one free spin a day, it did not indicate to gamble often or excessively, nor did it show anyone doing that.The ASA concluded the ad did in fact depict gambling taking priority over everyday life, and the diversion of gambling while with his girlfriend led to the embarrassing comment. The ad must not appear on TV in its current form and future ads must not encourage gambling as a priority over everyday life, or encourage harmful gambling behaviours.