An ad calling for Sepp Blatter to “Just F**k Off Already” by online betting company Paddy Power has been cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK.
The ad which appeared in the Sport section of The Guardian, featured odds on the candidates for the 2015 FIFA presidential election and an image of Sepp Blatter revealing the winner by holding up a piece of paper which said “ME”. Text at the top of the ad stated, “JUST F**K OFF ALREADY!”
According to the ASA ruling, “Paddy Power plc said the headline of the ad was in keeping with their brand’s distinctive voice. It was designed to reflect what they understood to be the overwhelming sentiment felt by football fans around the globe that Sepp Blatter should resign as FIFA President in the wake of the numerous arrests of his FIFA colleagues on suspicion of corruption.
“Paddy Power acknowledged that “F**K” was a reference to a word which could be deemed offensive. They said they had used a less offensive presentation, with asterisks masking half of the word to reduce the potential for it to cause offence.
“The Guardian said before publishing the ad they considered whether their Sport section readers would find the ad offensive and had decided that that was highly unlikely. They said the section had an adult readership, as did the paper as a whole, and that the section’s articles frequently contained swear words in the course of reporting on sport and sportspeople.”