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Paddy Power: Marketing Geniuses or Mischievous Mavericks?

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The team at Paddy Power are pros when it comes mischief and, according to some, they’re also irreverent geniuses in the marketing department.

From publicity stunts to banned TV ads, Paddy Power certainly knows how to get noticed with its cheeky ad campaigns and crazy antics.

While mobile betting rivals like Bet365 and other rivals use pop-up windows and other web tools, Paddy Power’s marketing secret lies in its ability to entertain, get a rise out of its audience or simply earn a few laughs, but what ever they’re doing, it seems to work.

Paddy Power may continue to push the boundaries of good taste and marketing creativity, but can the Irish bookies push themselves to the front line in the gambling world?

Masters of Mischief

Paddy Power has managed to make a name for itself all over the globe for its antics and publicity tricks. With its head of marketing branding the name “head of mischief”, it’s easy to see that being cheeky and irreverent is rooted in Paddy Power’s mischievous philosophy and part of the brand’s charm.

The Irish bookmakers repositioned the concept of betting in a revolutionary way. As Paddy Power sought to move away from the traditional bookmaker’s image touting a get rich quick model, instead they chose to promote gambling as a fun past time with possible monetary perks.

Advertising at Paddy Power is not solely about getting the firm’s name out there, but it’s a core part of the company’s banding.

Over the years, Paddy Power’s marketing strategy has grown more and more daring over the years, where it mixes up controversy, elaborate stunts and social media participation to get its name in the headlines across the globe.

Guerrilla Marketing

From the brilliance marrying skywriting to people’s tweets through to setting up a bookies board on St. Peter’s Square in Rome during conclave, Paddy Power is a pro when it comes to publicity stunts.

The Irish online sportsbook came up with a creative solution to overcome the strict advertising guidelines surrounding the London Olympics, whereby the Irish bookies sponsored an athletic event in a small French town also called London.

Paddy Power put up posters all over the British capital boasting that they’re the “official sponsors of the largest athletics event in London this year,” while cheekily adding “Ahem, London, France” at the bottom of the posters.

Paddy Power’s marketing campaign doesn’t just set out to put the company’s name about, but seeks to get people talking.

“It’s really important that you provoke some reaction from somebody,” said Ken Robertson, the head of mischief at Paddy Power, “Paddy Power was one of the first organizations to work in the mischief marketing space who understood in investing in brand and growing and developing that brand.”

Offensive or Funny?

Paddy Power is Ireland’s biggest, most successful and innovative bookmaker

• Paddy Power was founded in 1988 by merging three Irish bookmakers
• Offers sports betting, poker, bingo, casino games and spread betting online
• Was Europe’s largest bookmaker by total share value in 2011
• Currently the third largest bookmaker in UK and Ireland

Like the naughty boy at school, Paddy Power is always getting into trouble for its antics. Whether it’s making headlines for not quite legal advertising campaigns or coming up with ploys that some find offensive, Paddy Power certainly never fails to get tongues wagging.

The case of the lucky pants at the 2012 World Cup saw Danish player Nicklas Bendtner fined a whopping EUR 100,000 after flashing a pair of Paddy Power pants during the game with Portugal.

Although, Paddy Power paid the fine and gave away replicas of the underwear on its Facebook page, turning the controversy to its advantage.

Even if the incident with the Paddy Power pants said more about UEFA’s sense of humor, some of Paddy’s TV and viral ad campaigns have caused an avalanche of complaints being made to the Advertising Standards Authority.

The “Ladies Day” clip placed transgender women around the Cheltenham Festival ground in its campaign to spot “the stallions from the mares” received hundreds of complaints back in 2012 for being deemed offensive.

Another example of Paddy Power getting into trouble with ASA again is the controversial YouTube ad in which tranquilizer darts were shot at chavs at a horse race coupled with an “enjoy a chav-free Cheltenham” tagline.

“We wouldn’t purposefully set out to do anything that we honestly believed could cause widespread offence,” comments Robertson, “There is a line in the sand that you just don’t cross. That’s common sense. You’re not going to come out with a campaign that is going to piss off 99 per cent of the people who see it – that’s not what we’re about. We’re not about shock advertising, we’re about creating engaging and fun advertising that will provoke a reaction from a small minority of people that will help us build the campaign.”

Engaging the Masses

Social Media has become the core of Paddy Power’s marketing strategy, and its “we hear you” campaign has been a huge hit with the masses.

Paddy Power’s most recent campaign the “Ball of Shame” branched out from a tweet saying: “Lazy millionaire players disgust me”, the one of many such social media inspired ads.

However, the best example of Paddy Power’s creative innovation coupled with the social media power can be traced back to its #goeurope campaign back in 2012.

Paddy Power flew five planes over the Medina Golf Club in Chicago for the Ryder Cup event, spelling out messages of support to members of the European team with the hashtag #goeurope, joining guerrilla advertising to Twitter participation.

The social side of betting and advertising has become the bookmaker’s niche. BetDash, a new game by Paddy Power that turns sports betting into a social game, hints at a possible new direction in the future of online gaming.

At the moment, Paddy Power is one of the leading online sportsbooks in Ireland and the UK, more or less drawing with BetVictor, Bet365 and Ladbrokes.

However, the question is whether Paddy Power can come up with an extra innovative marketing push to break away and beat its competitors into submission?

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