Paddy Power Has Seriously Pissed Off A Lot Of People – And For Once, It's (Probably) Not A Stunt
Is this a work of marketing genius – or have they really gone and ballsed things up?
Paddy Power are known for their approach of getting publicity at any cost – from winding up England fans with their TV ads, to 'cutting down' the Brazilian rainforests ahead of the last World Cup.
But on this particular occasion, you feel they'll wish they stayed out of the spotlight.
Either that, or they've just orchestrated their most intricate and ingenious PR ploy yet. And if anyone could pull something like this off, well... we'll let you decide.
It all started when boxer and Irish Olympian Paddy Barnes unveiled his range of clothing ahead of the trip to Rio...
Paddy Power's usually entertaining Twitter account waded in fairly quickly...
Commenting on the similarity between the typefaces and colour scheme.
Looking good @paddyb_ireland but that logo looks familiar. 😳— Paddy Power (@paddypower) July 12, 2016
The response was fairly unanimous: Sponsor him!
No surprise, given Barnes's massive popularity as one of Ireland's most decorated Olympians – not to mention the fact that he's flag bearer at the upcoming Opening Ceremony at Rio.
sure give him a sponsor?— Will (@willh1990) July 12, 2016
jump on board with him so! #paddysponsorpaddy— Rob (@Ocean_handrail) July 12, 2016
sponsor him ffs the wee man is as mad as you guys— Chris white (@mrcwhite86) July 12, 2016
But then, things started to get a little bit messy
Or go entirely to plan. WE CAN'T DECIDE.
Paddy Power's Twitter persona denied all involvement
sorry Paddy. The big bosses got involved. It’s not what we wanted.— Paddy Power (@paddypower) July 12, 2016
But Barnes, characteristically, didn't pull any punches with his response
So the bookies got all conciliatory
Can you DM us please Paddy? We’ll sort this out offline.— Paddy Power (@paddypower) July 12, 2016
But the fans were pretty raging to discover that Paddy Power's matey online persona was just a front for a vast corporate empire
The vitriol is REAL.
lol PP acting like it's all full of banter and one of the lads..actually a big corporate bunch of ball bags— Paul McClure (@chiefmackers) July 12, 2016
breaking news: shock as bookmakers outs itself as being societal leech 🙄— BlackyConnors (@BlackyConnors) July 12, 2016
I will now be unfollowing paddy power can dish it out can't use but can't take a joke 🖕🏼✊🏻💦— David (@daithii27) July 12, 2016
it clearly is what you wanted. Unfollowed and account closed. #BoycottPaddyPower— @PapaBeats (@PapaBeats) July 12, 2016
Will be closing my Paddy Power account! #twats— Steve Ayres (@Ayresy24) July 12, 2016
what a shower of nasty little hypocrites.Go get em Paddy B!!— Fennaldo (@fennaldo) July 12, 2016
Whether it's real or not, that's some pretty genuine rage – so would a big reveal even be enough to fix things, or would it be interpreted as a phoney gesture to get people back onside?
We're going to have to wait and see...