The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld complaints against Paddy Power’s now infamous ad featuring South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, after considering that the ad brought advertising into “disrepute” and was likely to cause “serious or widespread” offence to readers of the The Sun on Sunday, despite the newspaper receiving no complaints from its readers.
With Pistorius’ trial for the alleged premeditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp due to begin in South Africa, and coinciding with the Oscars ceremony, an ad for Paddy Power appeared in UK newspaper The Sun on Sunday and included an image similar to an Oscar statuette which had the face of the Olympic and Paralympic track athlete.
Text stated: “IT’S OSCAR TIME”, “MONEY BACK IF HE WALKS” and “WE WILL REFUND ALL LOSING BETS ON THE OSCAR PISTORIUS TRIAL IF HE IS FOUND NOT GUILTY”.
Complainants, who variously believed the ad was insensitive by trivialising the issues surrounding a murder trial, the death of a woman and also disability, challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence. The ASA also challenged whether the ad brought advertising into disrepute.