It will go down as yet another Paddy Power campaign which crossed way over the line, even though the ad – featuring a picture of Rolf Harris with the strapline “the only Aussie we don’t want to get out” – has been destroyed before being deployed.
The ad was spotted by one cricket fan on the side of a lorry, parked in a yard, he then posted it on Twitter.
Paddy Power was caught on the hop and immediately sent out a statement claiming even it believed the ad had the “potential to cause offence”. However, someone at the company must have approved it at some stage, otherwise it would never have been printed, let alone slapped on the side of a lorry.
A Paddy Power spokesman told The Drum: “A lone tweet of an unauthorised photo of a mobile Paddy Power billboard has been doing the rounds on Twitter today [despite us] deciding not to run it.
“Although potentially amusing for the cricket fan, the sentiment of the advert crossed the line and had the potential to cause offence. It’s not often Paddy Power make this kind of decision but in this instance we believe we made the right call not to run it.”
The betting firm has plenty of “previous”. It recently despatched a lorry down to Dover with the slogan: “Immigrants, jump in the back! (But only if you’re good at sport)”. And last year it had the dubious honour of running the most complained about ad of all time, when it exploited the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, offering punters “money back if he walks”.
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