Paddy Power, the Ireland-based bookmaker, have never done things conventionally. Born from a merger of 40 Irish betting shops, the company set about tackling the UK market post-2000, and quickly gained notoriety with mad cap ‘novelty bets’ and ambush marketing techniques.
But it is also the online presence of the betting provider – which has cemented its brand as the archetypal Irish bookie with an all-green colour scheme – which has contributed to building a loyal following of sports fans.
It is fair to say that Paddy Power, or the social media brains behind its internet marketing, do not take things too seriously on the social media networks, particularly Twitter. And why should they? Unashamedly targeting the massive ‘lads’ market, they are trying to be the online betting equivalent of your funniest mate in the pub; the one who gets the beers in and tells the best jokes.
There have been several examples of Paddy Power using Twitter humorously, and to its advantage. But perhaps the most famous of all involves a hilarious text message exchange which was relayed to followers of the bookie to raptures of (virtual) laughter.
You can read the full transcript here thanks to Lad Bible, but here are the key facts. The Paddy Power social media representative for the day – known online just as ‘Paddy Power’ for personalisation purposes – received a text message from a man who thought he was texting a female acquaintance. Rather than alert the texter to their error, the Paddy Power worker proceeded to lead on the texter in an increasingly flirtatious conversation, keeping the Paddy Power follower base engrossed with a running commentary. Brilliantly, the victim fell for Paddy Power’s (or ‘Jess’ as he thought) magic charms, and was half way to arranging a more intimate meeting when Paddy Power put the poor recipient out of his misery!
This shows the Paddy Power social media presence at its untouchable best – your hilarious mate who plays a practical joke on someone for the entertainment of everyone present – only in this case, rather than a few people down the pub, thousands of followers were privy to it.
Paddy Power has caused a fair amount of offence over the years as a result of its mischievous marketing, provoking the Olympic Games organisers, the LGBT community and rival Ladbrokes.
Another shirt ripped. I've seen less male torso's that time I "accidentally" flicked on that gay orgy porno.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) June 19, 2016
But Paddy Power is at the peak of its social media powers when it is inoffensive, but still poking fun in a way that your normal bloke does when sat in front of the TV, or attending a sports fixture. Its tweets are notoriously unsympathetic, dishing out the banter to those who deserve it in a non-discriminatory fashion! Take its ruthless slaying of Michael Owen, the former Liverpool and England striker, and current commentator for BT Sport. It is fair to say that Owen has not been everybody’s cup of tea while trying to get his media career off the ground, and has already copped a fair bit of flack, but trust Paddy Power to do more damage. Here is a hilarious tweet which just about sums Owen’s commentary style up at times:
Hearing the Champions League final start without Michael Owen on the commentary OR analysis panel. pic.twitter.com/LeZPYtF4y0
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) May 28, 2016
And no commentators are safe – Paddy Power realises that much of its customer base will be watching the football on TV, that’s why it very cleverly places itself in the same spot, perfectly positioned to bring the house down with some killer lines. After the BBC’s Jonathan Pearce become a little confused by the goal line technology debuted at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Paddy Power couldn’t let it lie, and as you can see from this tweet, stuck the knife into great effect.
Jonathan Pearce, the man paid to tell us what's going on, is the only person in the world that does not know what is going on.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) June 15, 2014
Paddy Power sometimes forgets where the line is, but on the whole their Twitter interaction is amusing, and at best box office. It is also up-to-the-minute topical, delivering cutting wit within minutes of an incident taking place – this is in stark contrast to rival betting providers, who appear to schedule their tweets hours beforehand. It appears they appreciate the value of shareable content that has the potential to go viral, and are not shy of Photoshop. You can expect Paddy Power to be quick off the mark if a funny incident has taken place during a sporting event, knocking up a hilarious mock-up of the player in question, which then spreads like wildfire all over Twitter – perfect social media marketing from one of the leaders in the digital age.