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Spot the “stallions” from the “mares” takes a tumble

by Will Corry on May 16, 2012 in Marketing, Nuggets

Complaints about an advert for bookmaker Paddy Power featuring transgender people have been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The TV advert shown in February ahead of Ladies’ Day at the Cheltenham Festival invited viewers to spot the “stallions” from the “mares”.

The ASA received 92 complaints that the advert was offensive and condoned harmful discriminatory behaviour.It ruled that it must not be shown again in its current form.

The advert stated: “…we’re going to make Ladies’ Day even more exciting by sending in some beautiful transgendered ladies. Spot the stallions from the mares”. The advert showed a series of brief shots of people at the event while the voice-over tried to guess their gender.

In one scene, a woman was shown holding a dog while the voice-over said “woman” then hesitated while the shot changed to show a woman walking out of a men’s toilet, then said “dog, I mean man”.

‘Almost 600,000 views’

Upholding the complaints, the ASA said: “We considered that the ad trivialised a highly complex issue and depicted a number of common negative stereotypes about trans people.

“We considered that by suggesting that trans women would look like men in drag, and that their gender could be speculated on as part of a game, the ad irresponsibly reinforced those negative stereotypes.

“And, particularly by framing the game in a way that involved a member of the public who had commented on Paddy Power’s Facebook page, the ad condoned and encouraged harmful discriminatory behaviour and treatment.”

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