ASA bans 'misleading' Paddy Power ad featuring Fonejacker star Kayvan Novak

Irreverent bookmaker Paddy Power has fallen foul of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) once again, receiving a ban for a "misleading" promotion starring Fonejacker comedian Kayvan Novak.

Eleven complaints were made about the ad, which saw Novak in character managing a "complaints line" for the betting shop and answering a call where he confirmed that a Cheltenham betting offer was available to "everyone - even riff raff".

The viewers who took issue with the ad challenged whether it was misleading because they understood that the particular offer was not open to all customers, and the ASA agreed.

Paddy Power acknowledged that it had set restrictions on extending the promotion to customers whom it believed posed a risk of "bonus abuse" but argued that this related to "less than 0.5 per cent" of its customer base. It also said that the ad "included all significant conditions within the on-screen text and small print, which clarified rather than contradicted the main claim".

While the ASA noted that the majority of complainants had been aware that their betting accounts were restricted ahead of seeing the promotion, it concluded that the ad was worded in such a way that consumers would infer that everyone could take up the promotion.

"When that was not the case, we concluded it was misleading," said the regulator, warning Paddy Power that the ad must not appear in its current form.

Commenting on the ban, a Paddy Power spokesperson said: “This is one of the strangest decisions since Roy Hodgson thought he’d win the Euros with his strikers taking all the corners; the advert was approved by Clearcast and was clearly intended to be tongue in cheek.

"However, clearly we’ll be abiding by the ruling and the advert will not run again in its original form"

This isn't the brand's first brush with the ASA, the firm took the top spot in the most complained about ads of 2014 and escaped a ban on a poster campaign that critics claimed was offensive to people with disabilities.

Two years ago the watchdog said the betting company had brought advertising "into disrepute" after it banned a controversial Oscar Pistorious poster from the brand following a record 5525 complaints.

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