Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Justice! – Paddy Power ‘Cat Kicking’ Ad Cleared

Maybe I was a little premature (so what else is new..? Boom, boom!) earlier this month when I wrote about the brilliant Paddy Power ‘cat kicking’ ad being banned after complaints by the PC brigade.

Because today it has been announced that the ad will remain on screens after the Advertising Standards Agency cleared it of causing any offense.

“Remain on screens” might be a slight exaggeration though, because since the complaints and the controversy the ad has been conspicuously absent from TV screens.

Hopefully now though the ad will be featured more frequently and we can all enjoy it in all its cat-kicking glory once more.

To give you an idea of just how devoid of joy and humour some people’s lives are, the ad has thus far received over 1,000 complaints.

The ASA have said 1,089 viewers complained about the ad in total, with 220 complaints that it was offensive to blind people and 1,070 claims it could encourage or condone cruelty to animals. Unsurprisingly some viewers complained about both.

So just to annoy them further, here’s the ad again:

Paddy Power have defended themselves, arguing that the ad featured an action "so unlikely that it was absurd".

They said they chose a blind football match as it enabled them to promote and create awareness of a lesser-known sport in the year in which the World Blind Football Championships were to take place.

The company also provided a letter from the manager of the England Blind Football Team, who supported the ad's concept and stated that all the players featured were actual blind football players, many of whom had represented the national side.

Paddy Power went on to say the ad did not show the cat being kicked or suffering any violence or cruelty and was clearly and deliberately shown to be unharmed at the end of the item.

The ASA seem to have seen sense though and agreed, as they have not upheld any of the complaints, saying it was not offensive or disrespectful in itself to create an ad referring to or involving people with a disability.

In a statement the ASA said: "We noted that the ad featured and was supported by members of the England Blind Football Team, and showed blind people enjoying a game of football. We considered that the action in the ad would be interpreted by most viewers as a humorous depiction of a fictional situation. We considered it was unlikely to be seen by most viewers as malicious or to imply that blind people were likely to cause harm to animals whilst playing football."

I think I covered the pathetic complaint culture we live in pretty extensively in my previous musings on this ad, so I won’t open up that can of worms again now. The fact that people think that an ad so ridiculously over-the-top and improbable could influence people to harm animals is beyond me though and I genuinely fear for society…

…That’s it from me; I’m off to mock some blind people and kick a cat into a tree…


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