The Advertising Standards Authority has forced Paddy Power to withdraw its highly controversial Oscar Pistorius advert “with immediate effect” after it became the most complained-about advert of all time in the UK, receiving 5,200 complaints.
As we reported yesterday morning, an online petition to withdraw the advert had also received 120,000 signatures at that time, and has now far exceeded that amount.
The Paddy Power newspaper ad showed a picture of an Oscar awards trophy with Pistorius’s head on top, with the slogans “It’s Oscar time” and “Money back if he walks”.
Paddy Power offered to refund “all losing bets” if the Paralymic athlete is found not guilty in the ongoing murder trial of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The ASA said in a statement: “We consider the ad may be seriously prejudicial to the general public on the ground of the likely further serious and/or widespread offence it may cause.
“We are also concerned that the good reputation of the advertising industry may be further damaged by continued publication of this ad.”
The ASA has no power to get the advert taken off Paddy Power’s own website as it is run out of its Ireland base, and the ASA only regulatory control over the UK.
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