Paddy Power, no stranger to being hauled up before the ad watchdog, has finally won its day despite running an ad which implied both Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage were “wankers” ahead of their TV debate.
Under the headline “Who’s The Best Mass Debater?”, the ad featured photos of the two politicians with sexually suggestive facial expressions and offered odds on who would win the debate.
The complainants, who understood that the ad alluded to masturbation, challenged the Advertising Standards Authority to probe whether it was offensive.
In its defence, Paddy Power acknowledged that the ad made use of a double entendre. The literal meaning was innocent and straightforward, playing on the basis that both parties were mass debaters, but there was also a hidden adult meaning.
In its view, the ad was light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek, intended to generate interest around the forthcoming debate in a humorous and irreverent way. Paddy Power also pointed out that no explicit language or imagery was used.
Associated News, owners of the Metro, said Metro readers were young, intelligent, professional workers who, it believed, would interpret the ad as a humorous way to highlight the Clegg v Farage live TV debate, on which they could place a bet. It had received no complaints directly.
In its ruling, the ASA understood that while some readers might not share the humour and find the ad disrespectful and in poor taste, adult readers of the Metro were likely to recognise it as a reference to betting on the evening’s forthcoming debate and would understand the double meaning.
Clearing the ad of being harmful or offensive, the ASA confirmed no further action was necessary.
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