Paddy Power defends Pistorius murder trial ad amid public outrage

Paddy Power has hit back at criticisms its special offer to refund customers if double-amputee Olympian Oscar Pistorius is not found guilty of murder is in bad taste claiming it is “no different” to its previous controversial marketing stunts.

Paddy Power has defended its offer (see above) to refund bets if Pistorius is not found guilty of murdering his girlfriend.

The online gambling says the much-maligned print ad, which promotes a “money back if he walks” offer for bets on the outcome of the athlete’s trial, is just another in its “long-history” of news-jacking stunts.

The attention the ad has garnered, despite being negative, has boosted the brand’s profile because of the global sports stars’ trial, which started earlier today (3 March).

A spokesman for the business says: “Paddy Power has a long history of offering odds on global news events and the Oscar Pistorius trial is no different. Given intense global media interest, including a dedicated 24-hour television channel promising ‘round-the-clock’ coverage, Paddy Power is giving punters the chance to put their money where their mouth is for what will undoubtedly be the most reported on, and talked about, news story of the year.”

Pistorius is accused of the pre-meditated murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after he shot and killed her last year. He has already admitted firing the shots, but claims he mistook her for a burglar.

Paddy Power has been slammed by many including Labour MP Tom Watson for being insensitive. The anger has boiled over to complaints made to the Advertising Standards Authority as well as a petition set-up on calling for it to be pulled.

The Olympian is one of global sport’s most recognised stars and was the first Paralympic athlete to compete against able-bodied athletes. The fallout from the murder case, however, has seen his brand value plummet with sponsors Nike and Oakley cutting their ties.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here