Paddy Power's Fonejacker TV ad banned over 'misleading' Cheltenham offer

Power Power has been rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority for a TV ad that misleadingly claimed a customer offer was open to everyone - even those who had been restricted by the bookmaker for abusing previous offers.

The ad, created by Lucky Generals, referred to an offer around the Cheltenham Festival in March, which promised customers their money back as a free bet if their horse finished second in any race.

It features The Fonejacker, Kayvan Novak, answering a phone set marked "Paddy Power complaints". The caller asks, "What’s this I hear about your incredible Cheltenham offer being available to everyone, even riff-raff?", to which the man replies: "That’s right, it’s one incredible offer."

In fact, around 0.5% of Paddy Power’s base were excluded from receiving this offer. In its full terms and conditions, it said this would be the case where there was "evidence that a customer is abusing the offer or using the offer to guarantee profits regardless of the outcome (whether individually or as part of a group)".

Paddy Power said that in advance of any exclusion being applied, it emailed all its customers who were no longer offered promotions, bonuses or enhanced prices to remind them that participating in those elements was restricted.

But the ASA ruled that the wording of the ad meant that viewers were likely to understand that anyone, without any exclusion, could take advantage of the promotion. It said that the on-screen text "T&Cs apply" was not sufficient to alert consumers to the specific exclusion that applied to restricted customers.

The watchdog ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form, and told Paddy Power owner Power Leisure Bookmakers not to state or imply that a promotion was open to everyone if that was not the case.

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