Record complaints pull Pistorius advert

Published Thursday, 06 March 2014
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A controversial advertisement by Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has become the most complained about ad in the UK leading to its immediate withdrawal.

Record complaints pull Pistorius advert
The advertisement has sparked controversy. (© UTV)

The advertisement, which was run to coincide with the Oscars ceremony, publicised the bookmaker's betting offers on the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.

Paralympian Pistorius is on trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in South Africa in February last year.

The 27-year-old double amputee denies intentionally killing her, saying he mistook her for an intruder.

Featured on both online and in newspapers, an advertisement promoted a special offer by Paddy Power on the outcome of the trial offering money back "if he walks" under the heading "It's Oscar Time".

The Advertising Standards Authority said the promotion had generated an unprecedented 5,200 complaints and ordered its immediate withdrawal.

Those behind the complaints said the bookmaker has demonstrated shameless behaviour and said it was a publicity stunt that has gone too far.

Paddy Power, however, has stood by the advertisement.

"There is a line and we do feel we are just on the right side of that line," a spokesman for Paddy Power told UTV.

"It's because it's such a big global news story and because there is such a public interest in it, people are speculating and talking about it.

"And that's the reason we're betting on it rather than because it's a trial."

© UTV News
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