Archive for the ‘Olympics’ Category

Oscar Pistorius and the Paddy Power PR Win

March 4, 2014

Oscar Pistorius Paddy Power advert

One thing is for sure – it has us all talking!

Was this the obvious objective when Paddy Power cobbled together their latest advertising stunt?

Just in case you have missed it, Paddy Power are taking bets on the Oscar Pistorius murder trail against his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. They caused outrage initially by offering odds on the outcome of the premeditated murder trial – 7/4 for a guilty verdict and 2/5 for not guilty.

Not only does this stunt interfere and shape public opinion about the verdict of the court case, there was also an immediate public reaction with many Twitter users branding the gimmick ‘vile’ and ‘disgusting’.

Paddy Power then took things even further, by offering losing bets a refund if the 27-year-old is found not guilty. This “no lose” offer for customers was featured heavily on newspaper adverts adding even further fuel to this controversial fire, demonstrating that Paddy Power didn’t really care about the negative public and media reaction.

Not only has Twitter been on fire about the issue but newspapers and radio have given the “bet” extra momentum through extensive negative coverage.

On national radio, RTE Liveline, Paddy Power defended the move to take bets on the trial: “This is the biggest profile trial that has ever been. It’s the only topic of conversation around the world. It’s to provide customers with the opportunity to bet on something that everyone is talking to.”

It sounds as if they are doing us all a huge favour by allowing us to take bets on such an event – are we that desperate?

The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK have already reacted though their official Twitter account: “We’re fast tracking a formal investigation into the Paddy PowerOscar Pistorius‘ ad. No need to lodge a complaint, we’re looking into it” .

There is also a campaign running on with 117,000 people already (at the time of writing) who have signed a petition to Patrick Kennedy, MD of Paddy Power to “please remove your offensive betting on the outcome of the Oscar Pistorius trial and donate any profits so far to a women’s charity fighting violence against women

Despite all of this the Paddy Power adverts continue to run and the company defends them under the heading of “customer service”.

Oscar Pistorius

The horrible truth is this is a huge awareness victory for Paddy Power, way beyond the cost of the adverts or any payouts for winning bets. Sadly the bigger a storm we make of the issue the more attention we draw to Paddy Power and the more traffic will be pushed towards their website.

If this negative publicity was deemed to be damaging to the Paddy Power reputation you can be assured it would be retracted immediately but I am guessing that the view from within the company is that the publicity is good because the belief is that the target betting audience isn’t that bothered.

The women’s groups and the general public can be outraged all they want but as long as the campaign helps the company to attract the betting fraternity this is one of those times when any publicity is good publicity.

However, while the campaign appears as a clever win for Paddy Power it does leave a bitter after-taste, which in the long run could undermine the brand alongside the flawed Olympic star who at one point could do no wrong.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

Katie Frenzy

August 10, 2012
Katie Taylor - Frenzy !

You just “have” to win Katie

Like the rest of you the Fuzion crew ended up ducking out of work early and headed to Sober Lane (great name for a bar!) to watch Katie Taylor’s Gold Medal Winning Olympic Fight.

I must admit that I had never seen her box before these Olympics but my heart was in my mouth for that really close, nerve racking match as we all watched on the edge of our seats.

Of course it was fabulous for Ireland to win a Gold medal and it was extra special that such a special young girl did it for us, but I did feel there was an extra dimensiongoing on.

To me it felt as if the whole country had funnelled all of our hope, our depression about the recession, our frustration about the lousy weather and even our disappointment about the Euro Championships onto the shoulders of this girl and really “needed” her to do something great – we really, really needed her to do this, maybe in a disproportionate way? After the fight was over I saw a tweet by someone who declared the “recession to be officially over” – I knew what she meant!

The match was really strange with both boxers being very cagey and slow to engage – it had all of us quietly biting our nails but then I listened to the Irish crowd in the stadium and they were literally in a “frenzy” lifting the roof off with their sheer noise. I wondered were they even watching the match? – if they were as nervous as we were, they would have been in near silence. I worried at one point that they might pressurise Katie into launching right in there too quickly, but she kept her focus and did her job.

Were we watching more than a contest for an Irish gold medal – I wonder?

Well done Katie & thank you! 

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Blaming Twitter – Tom Daley

July 31, 2012
Tom Daley - Olympics Twitter

What will I tweet?

An insensitive fool sends a tweet to British Olympian Tom Daley telling him “he let his dad down” , after Tom and his synchronised swimming partner, Peter Waterfield narrowly missed out on medals at the Olympics yesterday.

Tom’s dad Rob passed away in 2011 from Brain cancer. How dumb was that tweet? ….then again, how often do we hear people saying dumb things?

The tweet is dominating the Sky Sports News headlines this morning and authorities are going to “conduct an investigation“. On the way into work I heard they have the tweeter tracked down and he is going to be called in for questioning …for a dumb tweet, now that is also fairly dumb!

This whole incident will open up the debate and the inevitable conclusion by many, will be that Twitter is to blame.

This story reminds me of a debate I have regularly with a friend of mine who was a very prominent broadcaster a while back. She gives out about social media, doesn’t see the point of it and is generally very sceptical about its whole existence.

I remember one particular day she rang me all enthusiastic as she finally had great evidence that would prove her point of view. The famous singer Sinead O’Connor had just tweeted that “she was looking for a big hairy man“!

I just pointed out to her that Sinead O’Connor has always had a tendency for saying strange things – now she just has another place to say them!

Twitter is an open platform (you can control this with your personal settings but most users leave their profiles open) where everyone can tweet whatever they have to say – Yep, often this does include quite dumb stuff!

Celebs, sports personalities and even politicians use it to boost their profiles, to make a point, to promote events or products. They can get a huge benefit from it if they use it properly. Mere mortals like ourselves and that dumb tweeter can also jump in there, lap it up and punch away at our keyboards pushing our own little messages out there, whatever those might be.

Like everything else in life if it’s interesting I’ll listen and if it’s not I won’t – if that person is an insensitive fool or I just don’t like them I can simply block them.

Tom Daley did the right thing and retweeted what that fool had said and easily exposed his “dumbness” – that was the very best way of dealing with the situation. As I write Tom Daley has 783,041 followers on twitter – I would call that job done!

So, forget the further action by the authorities, forget the twitter bashing, embrace that we do live in a free society where we are free to speak.

But remember if you say something dumb, a lot of people can get to see it …

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion with offices in Cork and Dublin provide social media training and consultancy