Paddy Power has muscled its way into the public consciousness with unruly advertising campaigns and stunts intended to irritate or offend.
When its “ladies day” advert showing transgender women at the Cheltenham festival was banned from TV after four days in 2012, it replaced it with a “chav tranquiliser” ad showing a man firing darts into bawdy racegoers.
Last year the company gatecrashed the Brit awards by dressing two men up as Daft Punk. After parading on the red carpet, the imposters dropped their trousers to reveal Paddy Power Y-fronts.
The company is seen in advertising world as both a dream and a nightmare client that chews its way through agencies. Creative types want the chance to produce edgy ads that show off their abilities, but they eventually tire of the tiny budgets and constant pressure.
Dave Buonagauidi, the chief creative officer at Crispin Porter & Bogusky, said: “They have positioned themselves quite nicely as a mischievous brand and they will take the piss out of anyone. Ofcom [the communications regulator] will say ‘you naughty boys’ and Paddy Power will pay the fine and then find another way to do the same thing.”
Betfair’s online-only operation and real-time exchange is more restrained, but it has also tried to be eye-catching. A recent advert shows a punter deciding whether to bet on his smartphone, while those around him watching an event on TV go berserk.
Perhaps in an attempt to retain an upmarket feel, the ad is set in a west London gastropub. Buonagauidi said: “Betfair are thinking ‘if we add a bit of informality and become a bit Paddy Power, that’s OK for us.’”
This article was written by Sean Farrell, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 26th August 2015 15.20 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010