THIS WEEK PADDY Power caused a bit of stir when they posted their odds for the upcoming marriage referendum in true Paddy Power style.
The bookies are known for their controversial marketing and social media techniques and this week a spokesperson gave us a bit of an insight into why they think it works so well.
“We’ve always had a mischievous tone of voice ever since the company was founded back in 1988. The tone of our advertising helps differentiate us from our competitors and also helps convey the brand personality to our punters,” they said. “The primary aim of our adverts is to entertain rather than offend but as with all edgy campaigns they’re not going to be to everyone’s taste and we fully accept this.”
As for the response to this style of marketing, Paddy Power said it is “always worth remembering that no matter how many people voice their opposition that there is always a silent majority who either find it hilarious or who couldn’t give a sh**e”.
Outrage peters out extraordinarily fast as people move on to the next thing.
With some of the campaigns the company ran in the last few years, people have started to wonder if Paddy Power has a line it won’t cross. It’s near impossible not to cross someone’s line, the spokesperson told us, “so you’re bound to piss the odd person off”.
However, they said they are disappointed from time to time when they don’t get a reaction as some of their stunts such as #ShaveTheRainforest and LOCOG [London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games] were “intended to stick it to a certain ‘man’”.
“Of course there’s a line and we like to be close to it, inevitably we’ll fall over it from time to time. We go into all of our activity with our eyes open and are always happy with our position.”
There is one particular campaign that the company withdrew after a massive backlash. That was a newspaper advertisement an image of an Academy Awards statuette which had the face of Oscar Pistorius. The text read “It’s Oscar Time” and “Money Back If He Walks” and said the bookmakers would refund all losing bets on the trial if Pistorius is found not guilty.
“Obviously situations change and we’ll always adapt to a changing environment. We’re happy to put our hands up when we get it wrong and Pistorius is a perfect example of this,” the spokesperson told TheJournal.ie.
“We did not anticipate when posting “money back if he walks” in advance of the Pistorius trial, that it would be interpreted as condoning domestic violence. However, despite this, offering odds on the outcome of a high profile murder trial, which achieved global media coverage, was perceived by many as portraying tolerance of domestic violence. We fully understand why this perception took root and put our hands up. This one we got wrong.”
They made no apologies, however, for the massive billboards with balaclava-clad men kissing each other that popped up all over Dublin this week with the words “Tiocfaidh Ár Lá” emblazoned across them. It looks like as long as this style gets people talking about them, Paddy Power will not be changing its strategy any time soon.
Now, we just have to wait for their next outrageous move.