This week online betting group Paddy Power has been censured by the UK Advertising Standards Authority for an ad they ran last month referencing boxer Floyd Mayweather.
The ad went live on August 23rd in the Evening Standard newspaper and had the tagline "Always Bet on Black" next to a picture of Mayweather. The purpose of the spot was to inform punters that they were paying out early on Floyd Mayweather to win a boxing match with MMA superstar Conor McGregor. The body of the spot read "We've paid out early on a Mayweather victory, because we checked, and only one of them is a boxer."
Some readers were offended by the spot, as they interpreted the ad to be referencing Mayweather's race. While the ASA stated that they knew the headline was a reference to the 1992 film Passenger 57, which has the quote:
"John Cutter: Charlie, ever played roulette? Charles Rane: On occasion. John Cutter: Well, let me give you a word of advice. Always bet on black!"
Despite this, the ASA ruled that some readers would be offended as they interpret the ad to be an invitation to bet based on the race of a participant. They ruled against Paddy Power, and the ad cannot be shown again, although this wouldn't happen because the fight has passed.
Speaking in response, a statement from Paddy Power read: "The line was approved by Mayweather who saw it as a humorous dig at his rival before the fight. The wording was, in fact, branded on to Mayweather's shorts for the weigh-in, at the request of the American fighter's agents."