Bookmaker Paddy Power has stirred up a controversy with the release of a new TV advert shown on Sky Sports that some trans groups say is offensive.
LGBT Lib Dems Northern Ireland said Paddy Power has brought shame on itself and that the
marketing tactic was in poor taste at a time when the UK government is trying to wipe out all forms of prejudice in sport.
The Irish bookmaker is well known for their edgy Television campaigns. Now ahead of the upcoming 2012 Cheltenham Festival,
Paddy Power has launched a new advert which focuses on Ladies' Day at the Cheltenham horse racing festival. It is thought that the initial reaction to the ad will lead to another referral to the advertising censors of the ASA.
The advert had been
cleared with Clear Cast, a body funded by the broadcasters that checks adverts against ASA rules on their behalf. Paddy Power had also consulted with a leading transgender organisation before putting the ad together.
that the ASA will be discussing the advert in the coming days as a result of complaints.
In the advert, the commentator references a Facebook post made by a fan, saying they can't wait to see some beauties at Ladies' Day . The Irish firm
claim to agree, but make things interesting by sending in some trans ladies . They then ask the viewers to spot the Stallions from the Mares . The tongue in cheek video then shows a number of different ladies, some of whom are women, and
some not, obviously added for effect by the producers.
The firm advertised the advert on Cheltenham racing site CheltenhamFestival.net, with a number of readers who had watched the video expressing their opinions and stating that they had already
contacted the ASA.
Update: 500 Complaints
22nd February 2012. See
article from pinknews.co.uk
Broadcasters Channel 4 and BSkyB are planning to continue airing Paddy Power's spot the trans lady advert in the face of fierce criticism.
The advert has been pulled by sports network ESPN but Channel 4 told the Guardian while it had a duty
to ensure broadcasts comply with advertising codes, but beyond that it was policy to leave it up to our viewers to make their own judgment about the adverts they have seen .
BSkyB reportedly has no intention of removing the adverts from its
The Guardian reported that nearly 500 complaints had been made to the Advertising Standards Authority and a spokesperson for broadcaster ESPN, which is owned by Disney, said it had reviewed the commercial in question, and have made
an internal editorial decision that it will not run on ESPN .
Update: Paddy Power Transgender TV Ad Pulled
24th February 2012. From blog.paddypower.com
Paddy Power's Ladies Day commercial has been pulled from TV.
The decision to suspend the clip wasn't made by us -- it was done by the British TV advertising regulator along with television broadcasters.
This is especially frustrating given the commercial was already pre-approved by British television advertising clearance body Clearcast, just one week ago, who then considered the humour in the advert, while not to everyone's taste, fell short of causing offence.
Additionally, Paddy Power reached out to leading UK transgender group, The Beaumont Society, for feedback on the script.
The Beaumont Society said there was nothing untoward with the advert concept and felt it was not inappropriate since
the entire campaign would be a tongue-in-cheek look at the Ladies Day race meeting where these days a large number of cross dressers make a day of it .
Furthermore, Paddy Power cast members of the trans-community in the
various transgender roles in the commercial. Given the attention and diligence we demonstrated throughout the development of this commercial, we are very disappointed by today's decision.
Finally it is worth pointing out that the
commercial, which went live on YouTube less than one week ago, has almost 250,000 views with more likes than dislikes .
The next commercial in Paddy Power's We Hear You advertising campaign, CHAVS ,
will be broadcast on the company's YouTube channel shortly.