Sunday March 17,2013 : COPYCAT CHELTENHAM BALLOON BANISHED
Paddy Powers’ tongue-in-cheek marketing move gets a reaction from race organisers
In what appears to have been a sly send up on rival William Hill's spectacular Cheltenham Moon marketing ploy at the famous racing festival this weekend, Paddy Power released its own 60 foot high balloon, with the design reminding punters of the lucky pants Y-front move the company made at the Euro 2012 football championship in collaboration with Danish football ace Nicklas Bendtner
Bendtner flashed his branded Y-fronts to create a flood of publicity back then, and the motif of Paddy's Cheltenham hot air balloon evoked clear associations with that incident.
The marketing publication Drum reports that the 60 ft. Paddy Power pants balloon was specially commissioned to offer fans ‘the best seats in the house’ with a unique flight on ‘Paddy Pant 1’ above various sporting events, with Cheltenham being the site chosen for the inaugural flights.
The company's Cheltenham move created a similarly hostile reaction as that prompted by Bendter's football flash, with the organisers and the UK Civil Aviation Authority, who were apparently less than pleased at the disruption, sending the balloon crew packing – only to have them set up on a neighbouring property.
A Paddy Power spokesperson commented: “Our giant lucky Y-fronts have been a smash hit with the race goers so far – they don’t infringe on the racing or the spectators’ enjoyment of the event. Watch this space, or should we say ‘airspace’; we’re determined that our lucky pants will fly again.”
On a more serious note, the company, which is heavily reliant on mobile and web bets, experienced a serious problem when its website crashed Friday during a peak betting timeframe. Fortunately the site was not down for too long, but the day's first race was already done and dusted by the time operations returned to normal.
They were not the only bookie company with technical hassles; Coral's website buckled under a possibly self-inflicted, too-good-to-be-true odds offering that saw hordes of punters accessing the website, which embarrassingly remained inactive during the company's sponsored
Coral Cup race at Cheltenham. The Playtech-Openbet software powering the site was either defective or simply could not handle the volume.
A spokesman apologised and opined that the avalanche of punters was not something easily duplicated in a test environment…despite the fact that the software has been in use since late last year.