Friday July 3,2015 : PADDY POWER TOUCHES A NERVE WITH IMMIGRANTS STUNT
Provocative truck advertising criticised by press and social media.
Online and land gambling group Paddy Power's guerilla marketing tactics paid off with plenty of publicity this week amid the political furore in UK politics over immigration.
Tongue in cheek, the gambling company picked up on the strong opinions around a sensitive subject, and generated a promotion designed to attract attention and publicity.
It certainly worked, although much of the response was critical.
The company hired a large multi-wheeler transport lorry and ran it from Dover to Calais with the green tarp emblazoned with the slogan “Immigrants, jump in the back! (but only if you’re good at sport)”, along with images of Jamaican-born England footballer Raheem Sterling, Mo Farah, originally from Somalia, Samoa-origin rugby player Manu Tuilagi and England cricketer Eoin Morgan, who is from Ireland, and…oddly…Scots tennis star Andy Murray.
Amid a blitz of social media comments, The Guardian newspaper thundered:
"If there was any doubt that the world of marketing is often all but indistinguishable from online trolling by bedroom-dwelling teenagers, proof has arrived in the shape of a promotional campaign for a bookmaker which makes light of the plight of migrants trying to reach the UK via Calais."
Approached by the newspaper, a Paddy Power spokesman "…declined to say whether the decision to run the campaign considered the appalling conditions faced by migrants camped at Calais in the hope of making it to the UK, or the deaths of several people trying to do precisely what the slogan suggests."
Instead, the spokesman emphasised that the controversial promo was just a bit of fun.
“It’s a bit of craic, it’s a bit of fun,” he was quoted by The Guardian as saying. “Listen, it’s just a joke, and we’re referencing the long-running joke about Andy Murray and the issue of if he’s Scottish. That’s all it is. It’s meant to entertain. It’s certainly not meant to offend. Humour is subjective.”
Any bets on whether an ASA complaint is on the way?