10 Reasons Why Paddy Power Are The Most Controversial Irish Brand Ever


This week we had the pleasure of meeting the Head Of Mischief (yes that's a job title!) in Paddy Power, Harry Dromey who spoke at one our our group's industry nights. Harry is hired purely to piss people off, arrange the world's most epic publicity stunts and get everyone talking on social. Paddy Power are champions when it comes to this- their marketing is all about mischief, getting noticed and riling up as many people as possible. Very few global brands can continue to execute guerrilla marketing at such a high standard as they do (Red Bull springs to mind). What I love most about these guys is they don't give a fuck... oh and they're Irish. Every cunning plan that they plot takes months of preparation, no two stunts are the same... and the media and public seem to fall for it every time without fail. So here are 10 reasons why Paddy Power are the kings of mischief:

10. Hawking Talking (2014)

While Paddy Power is often considered slightly un-intellectual, last summer the Irish bookmakers asked Stephen Hawking to be a pundit with the football World Cup. They recognised that Hawking was probably better at making predictions than Paul The Octopus. The stunt pulled more than 12,000 news stories online. A very clever link-up in the run up to the biggest football competition and great publicity for Hawking with the release of The Theory Of Everything in cinemas in early January 2015.


9. Hurls The Limit (2003)

Ireland is unique in having two huge Championships of professional standard played by amateurs every single year. Paddy Power found a way around the sport's rules to allow them to reward players. All they did was brand certain player's hurls with "Paddy Power". Well, this cause outrage, every single news agency involved themselves in the debate and the whole thing was completely blown out of proportion. So much so that they decided to pull the campaign after one match... although already achieving what they had set out to do.


8. Rooting For The Wallabies (2013)

Paddy Power owned Sportsbet are just as good at creating mischief as their older brothers. During the 2013 Lion's rugby tour to Australia they decided to make the world's largest painting and hashtag to show support for the Wallabies in a farmer's field. The painting was 1.5 times larger than the Suncorp Stadium and was placed directly under the main flight path of anyone flying into Melbourne Airport. The imagery was something which caused huge offence. It showed a kangaroo behind a lion in a compromising position. Genius.

rootingforoz 1 lowres

7. You've Been Punk'd (2014)

Paddy Power believe that The Brits are the most boring of all the music award ceremonies. And how do you make it more exciting and gain a few headlines in the process? Well you gate crash it of course. They got two look-a-likes for none other than Daft Punk and sent them to spice up the red carpet. They safely made it to the huge media logo board and then ripped off their tux pants to reveal Paddy Power's famous green pants.


6. Furage Loves Europe- No Seriously He Does (2014)

If there's one thing we know about Nigel Farage it's that he fucking hates the idea of Europe. So there was worldwide shock when Paddy Power convinced the leader of UKIP to take part in a pro Europe Ryder Cup shoot. The video is bloody hilarious and there's no doubt he has a future in acting if politics doesn't work out for him.


5. Statue Of David (2014)

Paddy Power love to provoke football fans and the week David Moyes was sacked from Old Trafford they decided to place a huge statue of David in the grounds of Anfield for the Liverpool fans to enjoy...


4. Paddywood At Cheltanham (2010)

How do you newsjack the biggest horse racing event in the world? You construct the world's largest standing ad in a field directly in the eye-line of spectators. The 50ft Hollywood-style sign was erected on Cleeve Hill before Tewkesbury Borough Council said the sign didn't have any planning permission. Did the job though!


3. Bendtner Drops His Pants (2012)

Portugal may have finished 3-2 winners in their Euro 2012 Group B clash with Denmark in Lviv but footballer Nicklas Bendtner engaged in some extra activities that kept the headlines rolling. Paddy Power got him to drop his shorts during the game to reveal his sexy pair of undies. Not only did this really piss off the main sponsors like Adidas and Coca-Cola who had paid millions and millions just to feature on the sideline billboards, UEFA had a shit fit. Bendtner was fined more than Serbia were for racial slurs... again giving Paddy Power more ammunition to keep the story circulating in the media. This is actually an offence now for brands and Harry warned us that if they attempted this again they would end up in jail with a severe sentence.


2. Sky's The Limit (2012)

Paddy Power took to the skies above the Medinah golf club in the US to deliver the world's first 'sky tweet' campaign in support of Team Europe at the Ryder Cup. As the golfers from both sides were taking swings, they and the spectators began noticing the clouds of letters above them. Even Rory McIlroy was seen whipping out his phone to take photos. Shortly after the bookmakers invasion, Sky Sports started to broadcast them to viewers at home. See the 360 degree sky tweets here.


1. C'Mon England! (2014)

The most successful and most interesting campaigns with an epic twist is this stunt- they pretended to cut "C'MON ENGLAND" into the Amazon rainforest a week before the World Cup kicked off in Brazil. This was their first full online execution of a stunt. Paddy Power leaked pictures all across the globe from random sources starting in South America so no one would catch on. The world went ballistic and there was complete outrage from media, the public, social media and rainforest campaigners. They even went as far as hiring an expert in photoshop so that techies couldn't even prove the images were fake. Once they had gained enough publicity, the bookmakers revealed the images were indeed bogus and that they had just wanted to draw attention to deforestation in the Amazon, winning over the hearts of the haters once again. Nice guys eh?


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Written By

Louise Johnston

With experience in the Irish FMCG industry LoJo has previously worked for global brands such as Bacardi and Red Bull. She can be described as a passionate infomaniac with an innate flare for brands, marketing and tech trends.