Paddy Power has defended itself against growing criticism for its latest television advert which asks viewers to pick out transgendered women in a crowd of race-goers.
The Irish operator’s Cheltenham Festival ad which asks viewers to pick out the ‘stallions’ from the ‘mares’ in the crowd at Ladies Day yesterday prompted an investigation by UK regulator the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and led to sports broadcaster ESPN pulling the ad.
The ASA revealed it has so far received more than 500 complaints, some viewers branding it as ‘transphobic’ and others criticising it for suggesting that transgender women are in fact men.
The Irish operator however today defended the ad as a bit of mild-mannered fun’, and claimed that it had the full support of the UK transgendered community:
“We are fully committed to our current UK television advertising campaign “We Hear You” which includes the 30 second commercial Lady’s Day.
“Several members of the UK transgender community are cast in the ad, and it was also cleared by Clearcast [which pre-vets TV ads] before airing. This ad is simply a bit of mild-mannered fun in the fun-up to the Cheltenham Festival.”
A spokesman added that while the company “would like to apologise to those who took offence…Paddy Power have no plans to discontinue their advertising campaign.”
Paddy Power is of course no stranger to causing controversy with its advertising campaigns, its infamous blind football ad gaining the dubious distinction of becoming the most complained-about ad of 2010.
UK broadcasters BSkyB and Channel 4 have however not decided to follow ESPN and ban the ad, BSkyB citing the clearance for the ad received from independent advertising vetting body Clearcast.