A radio ad for Paddy Power betting service stated 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! 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 objected that the ad was offensive and likely to cause distress, in particular to kidney dialysis patients, transplant patients and their loved ones.
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
The ASA noted the ad concentrated on the fictional Jack Cooper character and the lengths he would go to in order to obtain a decent offer from Paddy Power. Whilst exchanging a kidney for something desirable was not as well known as the familiar phrasegive my right arm , we considered that within the context of this ad it would be understood as an extension of that phrase. We therefore considered that listeners would interpret the good luck with the dialysis comment within that very specific context and that it would be understood as a tongue-in-cheek comment aimed directly at the Jack Cooper character who had given away his kidneys in exchange for a good offer. 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.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 4.2 and 4.10 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.