Paddy Power ‘trans’ joke falls flat

Paddy Power has fallen foul of the Advertising Standards Authority after a joke TV ad for Cheltenham Ladies’ Day – which poked fun at cross-dressers – triggered outrage from transgender groups.
The ad, devised by agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky, had a voice-over which stated “we’re going to make Ladies Day even more exciting by sending in some beautiful transgendered ladies! Spot the stallions from the mares!”
It went on to show a series of brief shots of people at the event while the voice-over attempted to guess their gender.
The ASA received 92 complaints: The Kent Transgender Forum, LGBT Diversity and 90 other complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive. The group and 24 other complainants challenged whether the ad condoned and encouraged harmful discriminatory behaviour and treatment.
In response, Paddy Power said it had consulted transgender support group the Beaumont Society and Clearcast to ensure the ad met with broadcasting and decency standards. It also claimed the complaints had come from an organised campaign which over-represented concern about the ad.
An ASA probe found that the Beaumont Society had advised Paddy Power to use “transgendered”, believing that that phrase was not problematic, but that it now understood that some sections of the transgender community were offended by it. However, it claimed it had also suggested some elements of the script should be changed but its concerns were ignored.
The regulator ruled the ad trivialised a highly complex and difficult issue and objectified transgender individuals in a way that was likely to cause them serious offence. It concluded that the ad must not appear again.
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