Last Sunday an advertisement by Paddy Power making light of the current trial of Oscar Pistorious was published in the Sunday Independent as part of an international branding campaign. Pistorious is on trial for the alleged murder of his partner Reeva Steenpkamp, who Pistorious claims he shot by mistake.
Paddy Power is offering odds on the trial itself as part of its branding campaign. It’s hard to know where to begin with this advertisement in terms of insensitivity and outright misogyny. It might be useful to point out the links between gambling itself and violence against women and children. A 2010 study into the links between gambling and domestic violence found that…
Problem gambling was associated with increased odds of perpetuation of minor and severe dating violence, while pathological gambling was associated with increased odds of perpetuation of minor and severe dating violence, severe marital violence and severe child abuse.
We could also report to a EU report released today that…
…reveals that one-in-ten women has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 15, one-in-20 has been raped, while just over one-in-five has experienced physical and/or sexual violence from either a current or previous partner. Just over one-in-ten women indicated that they have experienced some form of sexual violence by an adult before they were 15,
The Paddy Power advertisement and campaign has faced criticism in the UK and is facing an investigation by the UK advertising watchdog, and has also received some media attention here, and here. Paddy Power themselves have defended the advertisement in public relations and market terms; that is that the advertisement is getting the gambling business attention and for this reason they have no intention of pulling the campaign, whatever about the callous insensitivity being caused. Paddy Power himself was unapologetic when speaking to the media here:
It is so high profile which means there is more talk about it and it is being talked about in every pub. People are talking about this. It is top of the agenda. It is in everyone’s face. Everyone is interested and intrigued.
Paddy Power also feigned surprise when the advertisement was linked to domestic violence maintaining it was simply a bet on a high profile court case; a case of celebrity misogyny, domestic abuse and murder, which by Paddy Powers unique brand of ethics means it is OK.
*Note the UK advertising watchdog has ordered that Paddy Power end the advertising campaign and refund anyone who placed a bet on the trial: report in the Scotsman here