Paddy Power adverts are intended to provoke, and it's fairly certain that they will get a reaction from a new poster unveiled in Ireland. They have chosen to advertise the odds on the Marriage Referendum in the Republic of Ireland using a photograph of gay terrorists.
The referendum is enabling voters to decide whether or not gay marriage should be legalised in the country. The advert features two men in balaclavas and wedding suits sharing a kiss, alongside the IRA slogan 'Tiocfaidh Ár Lá' - which translates as 'Our day will come'. Underneath are the current odds of 1/10 for a yes vote, and 5/1 for a no vote.
A press statement that accompanied the advert said: "Our latest betting on the referendum makes it look rosy in the garden for the YES camp but don't be surprised if the NO vote comes from behind to give us all a surprise. In the words of Sir Alex Ferguson, it's squeaky bum time."
A spokesperson for the company told DailyEdge.ie: "We make no apologies for having a bit of fun to publicise our odds on the outcome of the Marriage Equality referendum. It is not motivated or designed to be insulting to anyone."
This isn't the first time that Paddy Power has hit the headlines for a controversial advert. As long ago as 2005 it was making the news after issuing a poster showing Jesus and the apostles gambling during the last supper. The Advertising Standards Authority received 100 complaints, and the advert was pulled.
In 2010 it issued the most complained-about advert of the year, which featured a blind footballer kicking a cat into a tree. In 2012 the company issued an advert before the Cheltenham Festival, showing a hit man shooting 'chavs' at a racecourse. It was banned after four days.
Most memorably, last year the company decided to offer odds on whether Oscar Pistorious would be found guilty of murder or not. It advertised it with a campaign offering to refund any bets 'if he walks'.
The campaign garnered a record 5,525 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, and it took the unprecedented step of ordering it to be withdrawn while it investigated complaints that it trivialised the issues surrounding a murder trial, the death of Reeva Steencamp, and physical disability. The ASA ruled that it gave advertising a bad name.
It said at the time: "We told Paddy Power to ensure their future ads did not cause serious or widespread offence and did not bring advertising into disrepute."
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