Advertisements are designed to attract interest in their products or services. With an increase in the number of adverts, advertisers use a variety of means to attract attention. Some advertisers intentionally create adverts that are designed to create controversy – even to go as far as they are intended to be banned after use so that they can additional free publicity and that people start talking about the adverts (Price, 2003).
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Some companies do not just do this as a one off, but build a strategy around this, for example Benneton or Tango (Price, 2003). Another example is Great Frog Jewellery, whose advert states “If you don’t like our jewellery, fuck off!” (Nixon, 2003, p. 74). Paddy Power is a nationwide bookmaker (PaddyPower, 2015). This essay will show that it produces many adverts, several of which have been controversial. The question is whether such adverts are good or bad for the company whose products or services the adverts promote.
The market for advertising is continually growing and is expected to amount to almost $600 billion in 2015 (eMarketer, 2014). The market is oversupplied and advertisers have to had to create new adverts to get attract the potential customer (Orr, et al., 2005). One approach is to make their adverts more “risquÃ©” using a variety of means to attract the consumer’s notice (Orr, et al., 2005). One such advertiser is Paddy Power. Paddy Power is a large international bookmaker, who operates via shops across the United Kingdom and beyond (PaddyPower, 2015). Paddy Power has marketed itself using adverts over the years, many of which have been controversial (The Telegraph, 2012). One example is the Paddy Power advert adapting the Last Supper by Leonardo de Vinci to show gaming in an advert in 2005 which Corcoran & Share (2008) claim critics felt showed disrespect for Christians. Paddy Power Gambles with Last Supper (McLeod, 2006) Adverts such as these have been reported to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which is an independent organisation who regulates advertising (ASA, 2015a). The ASA has ruled against Paddy Power on several adverts, saying that their adverts were offensive (ASA, 2012a), prejudicial (ASA, 2014a) and insensitive (ASA, 2014b). The ASA rulings are that the rulings mean the adverts cannot be reused. This is not to say that all Paddy Power adverts broke the rules. A “Jack Cooper” radio advert Paddy Power produced in 2012 was investigated by the ASA and they found that it did not breach the code of practice (ASA, 2012b, n.p.). In addition it should be noted that there were complaints made to the ASA regarding many other adverts from betting companies nationwide (Steen, 2014) and thus the ASA does not single out Paddy Power for its rulings. However the ASA identified that the most complaints received about an advert was an advert that made reference to the trial of Oscar Pistorius which engendered 5,525 separate complaints (ASA,
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