Paddy Power shrugs off Rhodri Giggs ad ban after ASA warning

Paddy Power has shrugged off a ban from the Advertising Standard's Authority (ASA) that made light of footballer Ryan Giggs' scandalous eight-year affair with his brother Rhodri's wife.

The advertising watchdog launched an inquiry after five complainants questioned whether the ad glamorised gambling and suggested that it was a way of achieving a good standard of living.

On the ban, a spokesperson for the notoriously mischevious gambling brand told The Drum: "Hmm, I wonder who would complain about our Rhodri Giggs advert? Nope, no idea," jokingly implying that Giggs' brother had contested the spot.

Launched earlier this year, the ad promoted the bookmaker's Paddy's Rewards Club – an 'anti-loyalty scheme' – pitching Rhodri as the scheme's ambassador.

Provocative and tongue-in-cheek, the spot drew attention to the estranged relationship between the two Giggs brothers – which broke down after Ryan's affair with Rhodri's (now ex-) wife Natasha, was exposed as a huge tabloid scandal in 2011.

Addressing the camera throughout the ad, Rhodri covers all areas of his life in which he is loyal, including drinking at the same pub, going to the same gym and supporting the Welsh national football team; of which his brother is the manager.

Giggs closes the ad with the caveat: "The problem is, loyalty gets you nowhere, live for rewards instead," before patting the bodywork of a sports car saying "Thanks Paddy" and driving off.

Despite the obvious dig at his bother's loyalty, the several members of the public told the ASA they were concerned that the ad glamorised gambling.

Paddy Power responded by arguing the sports car in which Rhodri drives away in is the only thing that could "be considered special or glamorous" and that none of the activities involved gambling and betting.

It also said the reason Rhodri had the sports car wasn't to do with gambling, but that he had been awarded it for his role as brand ambassador.

Despite the fact the ad did not reference gambling, the ASA decided to uphold the ban.

Other than the sports car reward, the regulator found issue with the opening scene in which Rhodri is seen calling the bank to inquire about his bank balance, and when he is depicted as ordering champagne instead of his usual pint of bitter.

The watchdog also argued that the lines in the closing sequence: "...loyalty gets you nowhere, live for rewards instead" could create the impression that the footballer was no longer defined by the affair, instead reaping the awards through the Paddy Power's rewards scheme.

For these reasons, the ASA decided to ban the ad, saying it was irresponsible because it "implied gambling was a way to achieve financial security and improved self-image.

It warned Paddy Power to ensure in future that it did not state or imply that gambling was a way to achieve financial security or improve self-image or self-esteem.

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