Paddy Power is under fire from the UK Advertising Standards Bureau (ASA) for running an advertisement that, supposedly, promotes workplace gambling. It’s just the latest in a long series of dust-ups between the UK-facing operator and the stiff upper lips who oversee how the gambling industry advertises itself.
The advertisement at issue is titled, “Pappa Loves Mambo” and features a security guard playing Paddy Power online slots while singing lyrics like, “…Watching ‘em gamble from a sneaky camera angle. Yeah, look at ‘em play on it; spinning away on it, they’re rubbing my face in it now. Still I can’t grumble. I’ll have a cheeky little dabble. Yeah I’ll have a spin on it, when I’m on break, the daily jacpot’s looking great now.” The song is sung to the tune of Perry Como’s classic song, “Poppa Loves Mambo.”
This was entirely too much for two, unnamed, UK residents who complained to the board that the advertisement seemed to suggest that gambling is an acceptable workplace activity.
Paddy Power officials, who are certainly used to dealing the good folks at the ASA, defended the ad by saying that workplace presented in advertisement was actually a casino. Under UK advertising guidelines, which do prohibit depictions of workplace gambling, there is an exception made when the activity takes place on the premises of a licensed gaming establishment.
Unfortunately, the ASA wasn’t buying that argument one bit and pointed out that even though the fictional guard was working in a fictional casino, he wasn’t actually on break. Because of that, the ad was deemed to be, “socially irresponsible,” and was pulled from the airwaves.
Getting spanked by the ASA is a regular part of life at Paddy Power, where cheeky ads are a standard occurrence and it doesn’t appear that the esteemed operator will be changing its advertising and PR strategy anytime soon.
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