Feeds

ASA raps Paddy Power over gambling dwarf ad

'Irresponsible', declares watchdog

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ordered online gambling outfit Paddy Power "not to repeat" the approach it adopted in a newspaper ad which showed a "short man" in the back of stretch limo flanked by women under the title "Who says you can't make money being short?"

The offending advertisement, which appeared in the Times, attracted one complaint which challenged "whether the ad irresponsibly linked gambling to seduction, sexual success, and enhanced attractiveness".

The ASA itself questioned "whether the ad breached the [CAP] Code by implying gambling could improve self-image or self-esteem or was a way to gain control, superiority, recognition, or admiration".

In response to the charges that it had breached clauses 2.2 (Social responsibility), 57.4(f) (Gambling and personal success), and 57.4(h) (Gambling and sexual success) of the code, Paddy Power said "they had not intend to breach the CAP Code and they did not believe the ad did so".

The ASA continues: "They said the ad targeted a very specific group of people in the financial spread betting community who would be aware of the connotations of 'going' or 'being' short. They said this was a term used to describe a particular financial spread betting activity.

"They said the ad was a play on words and that they believed it would be understood in the financial spread betting fraternity as a whimsical and far-fetched interpretation of the term. They said the ad was not intended to imply that financial spread betting could improve self-image, or self-control, or that it was a way to gain control, superiority, recognition or admiration."

The ASA disagreed, and in ruling the ad had breached CAP Code clauses 2.2 and 57.4(h), said: "We considered that the ad was likely to be seen to play on a traditional stereotype of male attractiveness that was sometimes prejudiced against shorter men and to suggest that desirable female companionship was attainable for short men too through the enhanced attractiveness provided by wealth (acquired by gambling)."

It added: "We concluded that, by showing the man flanked by two glamorous women in the context of a direct reference to making money through financial spread betting, the ad irresponsibly linked gambling with sexual success and enhanced attractiveness."

Regarding the breach of clauses 2.2 and 57.4(f), the ASA ruled: "We noted the ad was set in a stretch limousine and that the man was enjoying a glass of champagne and a cigar in the company of two scantily clad and attractive women. We considered that stretch limousines, champagne, cigars, and beautiful women were popularly associated with male success, and that the ad invited readers to recognise and admire the success of the man portrayed in it.

"We also noted that the man was short, and that this was stereotypically seen as a disadvantage for a man in terms of his sexual attractiveness. We considered that the ad suggested that the man's self-image or self esteem, which could have been hampered by his stature, had been transformed by his financial success. We concluded the ad suggested this man's 'shortcoming' had been overcome by the wealth he had acquired through gambling and therefore that the ad implied gambling was a way to improve self-esteem or gain recognition or admiration. We concluded the ad was irresponsible."

Paddy Power said that "in the light of the ASA's communication with them, they had withdrawn the ad from all UK media outlets". ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.