Paddy Power advert featuring Ryan Giggs's brother banned

Ad showing Rhodri Giggs driving sports car and drinking champagne glamorises gambling, says watchdog

The UK advertising watchdog has banned a Paddy Power TV campaign featuring the brother of Ryan Giggs, the former Manchester United player and current manager of the Welsh national team, for glamorising gambling as a route to a wealthy lifestyle.

The TV campaign featured Rhodri Giggs as the face of the bookmaker’s loyalty scheme, the Paddy Power Rewards Club.

In the ad Giggs tells viewers that he had always “lived a loyal life”, through activities such as always drinking at the same pub, going to the same gym and sticking with the same brand of tea bags, but that his fortunes had been transformed by becoming an “ambassador” for Paddy’s Reward Club. “Loyalty gets you nowhere, live for rewards instead,” he said. The ad then shows Giggs rejecting his usual pint of bitter and ordering champagne. He is seen driving off in a sports car while thanking the bookmaker as he pats the bodywork.

The Advertising Standards Authority received five complaints that the ad was irresponsible because it glamorised gambling and suggested it was a way of achieving a good standard of living. Paddy Power said Giggs was not shown betting and that the car, with the number plate “Ambassador Car”, was not obtained through betting but was positioned as a personal perk of being a face of the rewards club.

The ASA said that the TV ad was based on a string of tongue-in-cheek references to allegations that Ryan Giggs had an affair with his brother’s wife. “We considered [the ad] created the impression that Rhodri was no longer defined by the alleged affair and that he had moved past his ‘loyalty’ and was now reaping the rewards,” the ASA said. “The ad implied viewers should follow his example, and that their route to doing so was joining Paddy Power’s Rewards Club. We considered the ad implied gambling was a way to achieve financial security and improved self-image, and we concluded the ad was irresponsible.”

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Separately, the ASA has also banned a tweet by Tottenham Hotspur football club to 3.36m followers for breaking gambling advertising rules for featuring young players Harry Winks and Davinson Sánchez alongside a betting promotion for William Hill.

The tweet, which received 3,600 likes and was retweeted 980 times, featured an image of the team’s starting lineup for a match against Borussia Dortmund in March as well as a William Hill logo and text saying “latest odds from @WilliamHill”.

#THFC: Lloris (C), Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Winks, Sissoko, Eriksen, Son, Kane.

Latest odds from @WilliamHill 👉 ⚪️ #UCL

— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 5, 2019

The ASA banned the promotion because the two players featured are under the age of 25 years old, which is not allowed in gambling ads. The watchdog said the aim of the tweet was both to announce the starting team lineup and to offer the audience an opportunity to bet. “We told Tottenham Hotspur to ensure they did not feature those under 25 years old playing a significant role in marketing communications,” the ASA said.


Mark Sweney

The GuardianTramp

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