The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has ruled that a sweary Paddy Power ad published in the national press was not in breach of its rules regarding ability to cause widespread offence.
A Fifa presidential elections parody ad featuring Sepp Blatter unveiling a rigged ballot masted with the copy "JUST F**K OFF ALREADY!" received one complaint from an individual concerned it was offensive.
The bookmaker, which on Tuesday (8 September) secured a merger with Betfair worth over £6bn, said the ad was in keeping with its distinctive voice – which has seen it in trouble with the ASA before. It added that the asterisks lessened the severity of offence generated by the ad.
The ASA agreed, its ruling read: “We noted that the ad appeared in the Sport section of the Guardian, which we understood had an adult readership and frequently contained swear words.
“We considered that readers of that section were likely to understand that the ad was intended to be a light hearted comment on the ongoing allegations of corruption within FIFA, and in particular the controversy surrounding Sepp Blatter's tenure as FIFA president. In that context, we considered the use of "F**K" was unlikely to cause offence to readers.”
The investigation into the firm has, as a result, been dropped.