Paddy Power are well known for their near the knuckle advertising and have, on many occasions, come underfire from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
However, they have hit the news again recently not because of the use of an underage footballer in their Tweets, nor because they have shown a man breastfeeding a child and not even because of a ruling by the ASA. Today they are in the news after settling a legal battle with Roy Keane over the use of his image without prior consent.
In June 2014, just ahead of the Euro 2016 qualifier between Ireland and Scotland, Paddy Power Plc created a massive billboard featuring a still from the film Braveheart with Roy Keane’s face super-imposed over that of Mel Gibson as William Wallace.
The wording on the billboard said ‘You may take our points, but at least we have our freedom. (Ya wee pussies).’
In the action that Roy Keane took against Paddy Power Plc, he alleged that his consent had not been sought for the use of his image and that his constitutional rights had been breached.
Damages were claimed and Mr Keane felt that the advert was both crude and vulgar. It was mocking the Scottish people following the outcome of the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum which Mr Keane said, did not express his views or represent anything he would even say in a light-hearted, jovial manner.
It was suggested that the message on the billboard posters were both harmful and endangered his connection with Scotland.
It was said that the use of Mr Keane’s image in the format it had taken on the billboard constituted ‘a serious and flagrant misrepresentation and a misuse of the substantial and valuable goodwill enjoyed by Mr Keane in his name, image, likeness and professional reputation‘.
The case was pending before the Commercial Court when on Friday 18th December 2015 Mr Justice Brian McGovern was informed that a resolution had been reached between both parties.
No figure has been disclosed and the terms of the deal are said to be confidential.