Paddy Power kidney advert cleared by ASA


A Paddy Power ad has been cleared following 27 complaints that it was offensive to kidney dialysis and transplant patients.

The radio ad for the Irish bookmakers said: "Jack Cooper wrote on the Paddy Power Facebook wall, 'I'll give you anything for a decent offer Paddy!' We hear you Jack! Anything eh? Well, just chuck us a kidney and in return we'll give you ... this beauty for the golf. Back any player to win the Masters and if Tiger Woods wins, you get your money back!"

It went on: "And, because there's another kidney where that came from, here's another cracker: We're playing six places on each-way bets! Bet online or on your Paddy Power mobile app and good luck with the dialysis. We hear you Jack Cooper!"

Kidney Wales Foundation and 26 members of the public complained that the ad was offensive and likely to cause distress, in particular to kidney dialysis patients, transplant patients and their loved ones.

Paddy Power said it had not intended to cause serious harm or widespread offence, adding that the campaign was based on humour as opposed to an attempt to deal with serious issues.

They said a figurative willingness to offer a kidney in exchange for something that was keenly desired had become part of the "modern lexicon" in much the same way as the notion of someone exchanging their right arm.

Rejecting the complaints, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said: "Whilst the reference to such a serious medical procedure may have appeared flippant and could be seen as insensitive to people who had experienced dialysis, we considered that within the context of this particular ad, most listeners would understand that it was a fictional, slightly ridiculous situation which did not represent real life or real life situations.

"Whilst some listeners, including those who had experience of dialysis, may have found the ad distasteful, we concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence."