Boylesports is an independent bookmaker in Ireland that was founded in 1989, shortly after the best-known Irish bookmaker, Paddy Power.
It would appear that the Boylesports have been trying to step out of the shadow of Paddy Power with their advertising by pushing the boundaries of acceptability, ironically by mimicking the sort of campaigns Paddy Power run.
However, where Paddy Power will raise a smile with their ‘near the knuckle’ advertising, Boylesports managed to cause widespread offence!
On 18th May the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) published a ruling with regards to an email that the brand sent in March 2016.
Receipt of the email infuriated the recipient so much they contacted the ASA to make a complaint, challenging that the email was offensive.
The email itself was dated 25th March and showed a bloodied hand nailed to a piece of wood with a desert scene as the backdrop.
The text in the email read ‘BOYLESPORTS GAMING – BAILED ON BONUS’ whilst further text on a sign hanging from the nail in the hand said ‘BETWEEN 5 – 25 QUID’.
Below the image the body text read:
In memory of the dearly departed JC, we are offering you a sacrilecious [sic] Bonus this Easter weekend … So don’t just sit there gorging your own body weight in chocolate, that’s disrespectful. Get on Boylesports Gaming and get your nailed on bonus.
A bit hypocritical to suggest that eating your bodyweight in chocolate is disrespectful considering what event Boylesports were using to advertise gambling!
The response from Boylesports was even more laughable considering that they first acknowledge that the image did represent crucifixion but go on to say that there were no religious connotations!
The email was disseminated over the Easter weekend, how can they try and defend indefensible actions when the timing and wording all scream religion?
They referenced ‘dearly departed JC’ and used words like ‘sacrilecious bonus‘ (although we think they meant sacrilegious).
Rightly so, the ASA upheld the complaint and told Boylesports to ensure that any further ads were not likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
You can read the full adjudication here.