BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Wednesday, 6 June, 2001, 01:46 GMT 02:46 UK
Bookmaker rapped over 'offensive poster'
Two pensioners
ASA said the elderly were "mocked" by the advert
The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld dozens of complaints about a poster which joked about two elderly women crossing a road in the path of an oncoming lorry.

Watchdogs found that the advert was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, though the company involved said that had not been its intention.

The ad for Irish-based betting chain Paddy Power's UK internet site showed odds of "2/1" and "evens" by each woman, was part of a series of joke publicity shots.

Others included an acne-covered youth with odds displaying which spot could be next to pop.

But the poster featuring the two elderly ladies - one hunched over a walking stick, the other pushing a shopping trolley - drew dozens of complaints from members of the public and charity Age Concern.

Bearing the caption "Let's make things more interesting", some complainants said they believed the betting odds referred to each woman's chances of being knocked down.

Ad 'mocked the elderly'

Paddy Power told the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the campaign aimed to depict "everyday situations as competitive fixtures through the eyes of a betting man".

It said the bet was on which woman would reach the other side of the road first and not which one would be knocked down by the approaching truck.

But the ASA said it considered that the depiction of elderly or infirm people as participants in a race to cross the road "mocked their mobility and was likely to cause widespread offence".

It ordered the bookmaker to withdraw the poster, although rejected claims that it would drivers to fail to stop for people on zebra crossings.

A spokesman for Paddy Power said: "It was not our intention to cause any offence."

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE

Talking PointTALKING POINT
Over the top?
Are advertisers pushing the limits of good taste?
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories