Paddy Power Defends Controversial Oscar Time Advert
The trial of the decade is without a doubt that of Oscar Pistorius or better known as the “Blade Runner”. Anyone covering the news in the last few days would have seen tow stories which feature Oscar as their headline. It is no surprise that real life is imitating Hollywood as not since the O.J Simpson trial has there been such a media frenzy. The case of Pistorius has everything a Hollywood movie needs including betrayal, an innocent beautiful victim and the hero who overcame everything to reach the pinnacle of success.
Besides the almost reality-like TV coverage or the trial, there are bookmakers who are cashing in on this sensational trial. Paddy Power has come under heavy fire for offering money back should the Paralympic sports superstar get acquitted of killing his fiancée Reeva Steenkamp. The public outrage has been swift with over 90,000 people signing an online campaign that advocates that Paddy Power hand over all their profits from the trial to a charity campaigning against violence towards women.
Despite their obvious lack of tact, Paddy Power are not apologizing for their “Oscar Time“ advert which was timed with the real Academy Awards and with Pistorius’s head imposed on an Oscar statute. They also pointed out their previous history whereby they offered odds on the OJ Simpson murder trial.
Chief financial officer Cormac Mcarthy said in a statement,” We’re offering a market on the outcome of a trial because people want to bet on it. We’ve had over a thousand people place bets on this. It is the story of the year – it’s the water cooler conversation, everybody is talking about it. We are just responding to demand by offering a price on that. That’s what we do.”
He even went further to defend the morality of the campaign, “It is a matter of opinion. Our opinion is that there is huge global interest in this trial and interest in the outcome. Our brand has personality, it is edgy, that is what we do.”