Paddy Power has once again shown its lightning reaction to the news agenda by rushing out an ad exploiting the sacking of Chelsea FC manager Frank Lampard – complete with Latin – playing on the fact that “Super Frank” is known as the “smartest man in football”.
The ad, devised by VCCP, is running in digital channels, although the bookmaker’s cunning stunts have not always gone down well with those featured – or the Advertising Standards Authority for that matter.
Paddy Power currently holds the dubious honour of having the most complained about advertisement in history, receiving 5,525 objections, as well an online petition of nearly 127,000 signatures, for its ad featuring former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius.
The ad centred around the athlete’s 2014 trial, in which he was accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. It featured Pistorius mocked up as an Academy Award statue and promoted a “money back if he walks” offer for bets on the outcome of the hearing.
More recent ASA run-ins include a ban for a tongue-in-cheek ad showing former Manchester United Ryan Giggs’ brother Rhodri promoting the Paddy Power Rewards Club, which was booted into touch by the ASA in 2019.
The ad, in which Rhodri made multiple references to loyalty, following allegations that Ryan had an affair with his wife, was banned for glamorising gambling. Meanwhile, Paddy Power was threatened with legal action by Manchester United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for using a photo of him in an ad without his consent.
The bookie used an image of Solskjaer in a Brexit-inspired dig at Theresa May to promote bets on the Norwegian getting the United job on a permanent basis.
The Lampard ad takes no such image rights risks and simply states: “Let’s put that Latin GCSE to use Frank. Tu oppidum. (You’re sacked).”
In a statement, VCCP said: “Lampard is renowned for his intelligence. They call him the smartest man in football thanks to a Latin GCSE and an above-average IQ. And yet, the cleverest man in football was unable to find a way to get his expensive team to win games.
“An open goal for Paddy Power and VCCP to step in with this reactive ad. As mischievous as ever from the Irish bookmaker.”
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