Broadcasters pull Paddy Power ‘spot the trans lady’ ad

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Clearcast, the broadcaster-owned company that ensures adverts comply with standards, has revoked its approval of bookmaker Paddy Power’s ‘spot the trans lady’ advert.

It had originally cleared the horse-racing advert which asked viewers to determine whether a woman was transgender, a ‘stallion’ or a ‘mare’, at the Cheltenham Festival but announced today it was reversing that decision.

The ASA confirmed a full investigation is still under way with hundreds of complaints received, though the advert will no longer air on terrestrial television.

Paddy Power said it was “surprised and disappointed” by the decision today.

The advert’s voiceover said it would “send in some beautiful transgender ladies” to the races and then suggested viewers “spot the stallions from the mares.”

The advert showed a series of women in the enclosures and indoor areas while the voiceover said “woman” or “man” for each.

After a shot of a woman holding a lapdog, another woman emerged from a men’s toilet as the voiceover said “Dog. I mean, man”.

For the last woman, the voiceover said: “Good luck with that.”

All adverts intended for transmission on terrestrial and satellite channels must be given approval by the nominated body Clearcast, which is owned by seven commercial broadcasters.

Clearcast said today that “following a number of complaints over the last few days, it appears that the ad has caused offence and in consultation with broadcasters, it has been decided that the ad should no longer run on their TV or VoD services in its current format. Clearcast regret offence that may have been caused”.

It added that in its original decision it “took into account the fact that the advertiser had sought a view from the Beaumont Society (a body run by and for those who cross dress or are transsexual) which did not find the script idea offensive”.

An announcement by Paddy Power said Clearcast had “considered the humour in the advert, while not to everyone’s taste, fell short of causing offence”.

It continued: “Additionally, we reached out to leading UK transgender group, The Beaumont Society, for feedback on the script.

“The Beaumont Society stated there was “nothing untoward with the advert concept” and felt it was not inappropriate since “the entire campaign would be a tongue-in-cheek look at the Ladies Day’s at race meeting where these day’s a large number of cross dresser’s make a day of it”

“Furthermore, we exclusively cast members of the Trans community in the various transgender roles in the commercial.

“Given the attention and diligence we demonstrated throughout the development of this commercial, we are very disappointed by today’s decision.

“Finally it is worth pointing out that the commercial, which went live on YouTube less than one week ago, has almost 250,000 views with more ‘likes’ than ‘dislikes’.”

A spokesperson for Trans Media Watch told “Trans Media Watch welcomes Clearcast’s decision to rescind permission for this advert to be broadcast. We have been made aware of cases in which members of the public clearly inspired by the advert have abused trans people, and we feel it created a real risk for women considered to look masculine.

“We regret that Paddy Power still do not seem to care about the damage their advert has done.”