Paddy Power has regained its crown as the enfant terrible of the advertising industry after its tongue-in-cheek ad showing Ryan Giggs’ brother Rhodri driving a sports car and drinking champagne has been deemed to have glamourised gambling.
In the ad, which used the former Manchester United star’s brother to promote the Paddy Power Rewards Club, Rhodri makes multiple references to loyalty, following allegations that Ryan had an affair with his wife.
Rhodri tells viewers that he had always “lived a loyal life”, through activities such as drinking at the same pub, going to the same gym and opting for the same brand of teabags.
However, his fortunes had been transformed by becoming an “ambassador” for Paddy’s Reward Club. “Loyalty gets you nowhere, live for rewards instead,” he said.
The ad then shows Giggs rejecting his usual pint of bitter and ordering champagne. He is then seen driving off in a sports car while thanking the bookmaker as he pats the bodywork.
The Advertising Standards Authority received five complaints that the ad was irresponsible because it glamorised gambling and suggested it was a way of achieving a good standard of living.
In response, Paddy Power insisted that Giggs was not shown betting and that the car, with the number plate “Ambassador Car”, was not obtained through betting but was positioned as a personal perk of being a face of the rewards club.
In its ruling, the ASA said: “We considered [the ad] created the impression that Rhodri was no longer defined by the alleged affair and that he had moved past his ‘loyalty’ and was now reaping the rewards.
“The ad implied viewers should follow his example, and that their route to doing so was joining Paddy Power’s Rewards Club. We considered the ad implied gambling was a way to achieve financial security and improved self-image, and we concluded the ad was irresponsible.”
The regulator also warned Paddy Power to ensure in future that it did not state or imply that gambling was a way to achieve financial security or improve self-image or self-esteem.
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