April 12, 2016
The Best PR Stunts from Betting Brands and Bookmakers.
The Grand National is gone for another year with another failed entry into the office sweepstakes on my part. The Masters is gone with an English winner of the famed Green Blazer. Anthony Joshua continued to prove he’s some kind of deity meets machine. It was quite the weekend for sport, and for the betting companies associated with the events.
To celebrate some of those companies we’ve put together some of our favourite PR stunts from bookmakers, betting brands and gambling apps from recent memory; from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Nicklas Bendtner’s Pants
One of the most (in)famous betting PR stunts was, unsurprisingly, from Paddy Power. Nicklas Bendtner, the man who once claimed he was up there alongside Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo at the top of the men’s game, celebrated in an unusual way when he scored against Portugal for Denmark.
Sprinting away following his strike he pulled his shorts down, lifted his shirt up to reveal a pair of green ‘Paddy Power’ branded pants. He was fined an exorbitant amount of money for the stunt which, he claimed, was just a demonstration of his lucky pants.
The stunt achieved global coverage and, despite the whopping fine of £80k, was a massive success.
Victoria Pendleton Switches Saddle
For this year’s Cheltenham festival there were a number of incredible stunts. One of the slow burners, though, was Betfair’s support of Victoria Pendleton as she switched from the bike saddle to a horse’s.
Away from the usual high impact stunts to land on the day, this was a campaign over the course of a few months as Victoria Pendleton got her licence and competed in a number of events leading up to Cheltenham. It was a huge risk, as a shocking performance from the former Team GB star could have spelled disaster for the whole campaign but, thankfully, she performed admirably with the support of the nation behind her.
Gnuf’s Giant Dice
When you enter the world of online betting as a new company you need to make a splash; you need to pull eyes away from the big brands and get some attention as you look to compete in the crowded market. That’s the challenge Gnuf.com faced.
Their stunt, thankfully, was fantastic. As they flew two giant dice up the side of a mountain in Greenland before releasing them – challenging viewers to place a free bet on the results.
The name and sex of the first Royal Baby was a hot topic at the time; with people all over the world desperate to know the answers. Betting brands seized on this thirst by staging a number of elaborate stunts surrounding the odds on both names and gender.
Ladbroke’s ‘Barkingham Palace’ Corgi race was one of our favourites. Giving each Corgi a name and racing them would, science dictated, determine the most likely name of the Royal Baby. 10 dogs faced off with the eventual winner being Alexandra, ahead of some outsiders like Mercedes and Sapesan.
Pictures can only do so much to convey how cute this was, so check out the video here.
‘In Case of Emergency’
The David Moyes reign at the top of Old Trafford was an ill-fated one. Despite the mediocre results and dodgy signing it did give us two entries in our favourite betting PR stunts.
The first, from Paddy Power, was to install a glass box outside of Old Trafford containing Sir Alex Ferguson (or a statue that looked a whole lot like him.) The messaging, simple but effective, made this campaign a success as the sign read “In case of emergency break glass.”
How the United fans wish that was still an option.
Man vs Horse
In a PR stunt that proved what everyone knew before, betfair challenged Jamie Baulch, an Olympic silver medallist, to go up against Peopleton Brook (a horse) over 100m.
The challenge was simple; could a man run faster than a horse?
Despite the massive headstart Jamie was, unsurprisingly, left eating dust. Still; the video is great fun and well worth a watch!
There’s nothing like a PR stunt that goes “wrong.”
Betfair saw the opportunity to create a giant octopus when ‘Paul’ (an octopus) was predicting results at the 2010 World Cup. The company built a huge octopus, plopped it on the back of a lorry and sent it on the way to somewhere.
Unfortunately we’ll never know the destination as the lorry broke down in one of the most photographed and busiest locations in the whole of London. What a coincidence.
It caused chaos, TFL had to advise people to find alternative routes and social media were quick to chat about the stunt and come up will all kinds of puns for the event. A success all round.
Moyes’ Grim Reaper
The second of the David Moyes stunts is also from Paddy Power. As his reign was coming to an end sports correspondents all over the country said it was like a spectre was following him around and that he was “on borrowed time” in the job.
Paddy Power, never ones to miss a trick, hired a chap to dress as a Grim Reaper and sit near the dug out as Moyes was managing the lads on the pitch. The pictures are sensational and despite the chap being escorted from the ground, it was a great moment and a stroke of genius from the team.
VR is about to take over the world. We know it, you know it and William Hill know it. The bookmakers have demonstrated a VR version of Kempton Park to allow punters to experience a race “from the perspective of the jockey.” It’a stunt, but it’s also an avenue to make racing even more intense and accessible to people coming to the sport.
We’ve got high hopes that this takes off.
David Ginola For President
In January of 2015 Paddy Power offered David Ginola, of Spurs and Newcastle fame (and Villa for a bit), £250,000 to run for the FIFA presidency. At the time Sepp Blatter sat atop the world game, untouchable, but maybe the charisma of the French maestro could sway the voting body to install him.
They didn’t, of course, as it transpired corruption was rife throughout FIFA and many of the people at the top of the game have since been removed from their position and a massive investigation has begun.
Maybe there’s a chance for David yet?
Place Your Bets On The Big Birds
The Big Bird Race was a great example of a betting brand getting involved in something away from sports and putting a little something back.
Ladbrokes invited punters to bet on a group of Albatrosses on a 6,000 mile flight while being able to track their progress via satellite. All the money raised would go into overseas conservation projects for endangered sea birds.
A round-up of some of our own work for Paddy Power