Paddy Power and InterCasino have become the first gambling companies
to have campaigns banned by the advertising watchdog since laws were relaxed
Standards Authority has banned four TV ads by InterCasino and a national press
ad by Paddy Power for breaching its new code on advertising by gambling
The code, introduced on September 1 following the relaxation
of ad rules under the Gambling Act 2005, allows gambling companies to advertise
more freely in print media as well as on TV for the first time after the 9pm
watershed or around televised sporting events.
Paddy Power ran a national press ad in the Times
showing a dwarf in a limousine flanked by two beautiful women, smoking a cigar
and holding up a champagne glass.
The ad ran with the strapline "Who
says you can't make money being short?".
The series of TV ads by
InterCasino also, coincidentally, feature dwarves who get involved in
Jackass-style antics such as rolling down hills in dice outfits and sliding
down bell-ropes dressed as fruit-machine cherries.
The ASA argued that
the Paddy Power ad broke the advertising code by linking gambling with sexual
success and an improved self-image.
It also said that the juvenile
behaviour in the InterCasino ads breached the code by appealing to children or
Paddy Power said the ad was meant to re-enact a famous
scene from the 1980s film Wall Street, featuring Michael Douglas as avaricious
banker Gordon Gekko, but agreed to withdraw the ad from UK media in light of
the ASA's decision.
InterCasino defended its ads as "gentle slapstick
humour reminiscent of old-fashioned routines by Charlie Chaplin or Benny Hill"
and said they were not designed to appeal to young people.
countered that the Japanese-style voiceover was similar to that used in shows
such as Banzai, the Channel 4 show that appealed mainly to young people.
The ASA also noted that the use of "persons of restricted height" would
be likely to appeal to young people: Jackass starred "Wee Man", while
children's literature such as The Hobbit and Snow White had used such
characters precisely for their appeal.