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Paddy Power rapped by ASA after controversial Mayweather advert

UK a

MayweatherPants2
nd Ireland sportsbook operator Paddy Power has been censured by the UK Advertising Standards Agency following a controversial advertising campaign featuring Floyd Mayweather. The advert called on bettors to ‘Always bet on black’ in the build up to the boxer's recent fight against Conor McGregor.

A total of nine complaints were received by the ASA, which stated that the headline contained an obvious reference to Floyd Mayweather's race and as such was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

Despite the reported racial connotations, the advertising campaign was endorsed by Floyd Mayweather who took the decision to wear Paddy Power pants embroidered with the slogan at the Las Vegas weigh in. In a statement Paddy Power defended their decision to use the slogan, stating: “The line was approved by Mayweather who saw it as a humorous dig at his rival before the fight. The wording was, in fact, branded onto Mayweather’s shorts for the weigh-in, at the request of the American fighter’s agents.”

The bookmaker also dismissed the racial overtones of the advertisement citing the slogan as a reference to both roulette and as a recognisable film quotation from the 1992 film Passenger 57 as quoted by its lead actor Wesley Snipes. This argument was dismissed by the ASA as many readers of the newspapers involved would be unfamiliar with the film's quote.

In its ruling the ASA acknowledged that the advertisement was not a negative statement concerning Floyd Mayweather’s race especially given the boxer’s approval of the campaign. However, it stated that the advertisement breached CAP code rule 4.1, stating: “We considered that readers would nevertheless be offended by the invitation to always bet on the outcome of a boxing match based on a boxer’s race, and the message that the boxing match was a fight between two different races. For those reasons, we concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence on the grounds of race.”

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