ASA: Paddy Power advert seriously offensive, irresponsible and caused harm

Being heavily run by the BBC today is the news that the Advertising Standards Authority have finally (After 3 months!) ruled that the Paddy Power “Ladies Day” advert breached their codes. It had already had its clearance by Clearcast, a separate group who pre-vet adverts, withdrawn after the complaints.

Complaints fell broadly into three categories: That the advert was offensive, that it caused harm and that it was not socially responsible and the ASA upheld that all three rules had been breached. Highlights from the ASA ruling on being offensive:

We therefore considered that the suggestion that trans people could be segregated into the gender stereotypes “stallions” and “mares” as part of a guessing game, trivialised a complex and difficult issue and objectified them in a way that was likely to cause them serious offence.

We considered that the ad in general and those scenes in particular depicted those negative stereotypes in a way that was also likely to be seriously offensive to trans people.

We considered that the suggestion that a trans woman would need to, or should, use a men’s toilet and the reference to a woman as a dog were also likely to cause serious offence to women generally and trans women specifically. We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence.

And on social responsibility and causing harm:

We considered that by suggesting that trans women would look like men in drag and that their gender could be speculated on as part of a game, the ad irresponsibly reinforced those negative stereotypes and, particularly by framing the game in a way that involved a member of the public who had commented on Paddy Power’s Facebook page, the ad condoned and encouraged harmful discriminatory behaviour and treatment.

Sadly, there was no mention that the adverts put Trans folk at risk of physical harm, but unsurprisingly given the above, they conclude “the ad must not be shown again in it’s current form“.


  1. We at Trans Media Watch are very pleased by this decision. We expect Paddy Power will welome the publicity but we hope people will remember their contempt for trans women – indeed, for all women – when choosing which betting shops they want to use in future. We also hope it will send a clear signal that transphobia is unacceptable.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.