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Paddy Power: Specialists in Shock Marketing

Paddy Power Balloon

Although there are countless UK Bookmakers vying for punter’s stake money and loyalty, there is one particular brand that has kicked on from the pack and whipped up countless controversial campaigns in a bid to be the front-runner – Irish bookmaker Paddy Power.

While their competitors’ campaigns are sometimes indistinguishable, it is hard to ignore Paddy Power’s risk embracing marketing strategy, even if you don’t like a flutter on the gee gees or a cheeky accumulator on the weekend’s football.

It’s safe to say, Paddy Power doesn’t play by the ‘traditional rules’ of bookmaking marketing as their campaigns that follow prove.

The Campaigns

PP Grannies ad

2002’s most complained about advert. Paddy Power claimed the odds listed were for which old lady would make it across the zebra crossing first, not who would be mowed down by the oncoming van.

PP Cat Ad

Paddy Power’s blind football advert became the most complained about advert in 2010. The advert showed a cat being launched into a tree by a blind footballer.

PP Cheltenham

Paddy Power went all Hollywood by erecting a 50ft high sign for the Cheltenham gold cup. The local council forced Paddy to remove it due to them not having planning permission.

PP Liverpool Ad

Recognising Liverpudlians’ distain for Sir Alex Ferguson and the recently deceased Lady Thatcher, Paddy Power came up with this billboard. In true Paddy Power fashion they were quickly ordered to take it down.

PP Royal Babies

Paddy’s stunt for the birth of the royal baby involved sending freaky looking grown up babies around London to promote their betting markets.

Nicklas Bendtner flashes his Paddy Power pants at Euro 2012, landing him a £100,000 fine and a one-match ban, but gaining Paddy Power global coverage. Paddy later covered Bendtner’s fine.

Iron Chin’ Strategy

I would liken Paddy Power’s marketing strategy to a boxer who possesses an iron chin.

To a spectator, a boxer that comes forward relentlessly throwing shot after shot with reckless abandon, leaving themselves open and vulnerable to the counter attack, may seem like a very careless individual. But this approach is in fact very calculated.

The boxer’s ability to absorb exceptional punishment means they are willing and able to push forward with confidence towards their target, and to take big hits in order to land a knockout blow.

In the same vein, Paddy Power is willing to push forward within their industry and take the fines, backlash, bans and upheaval in order to land their own knockout punch – a unique marketing campaign with an incredible reach and buzz around it.

The £100,000 Nicklas Bendtner fine (see above) was a big hit to take, but the global reach of the stunt and the subsequent media coverage was seemingly worth the punishment for Paddy Power.


Whilst there’s no denying that Paddy Power’s stunts are eye catching and ‘out there’, there could be an argument that they’re better at getting the brand noticed than they are at explaining the key benefits of betting with Paddy Power.

One thing is for sure though, Paddy Power have done a great job at positioning themselves as an edgy, fun brand and, whilst they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, their ability to shake up an industry and push the boundaries must be respected.



Photo sources and credits:

Balloon, Old ladies, Blind footballers, Cheltenham, Liverpool Poster, Royal Babies, Nicklas Bendtner






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