Paddy Power: The 10 best cunning stunts to celebrate our 30th birthday

We're celebrating 30 years of mischief making with a wrap of our most attention-grabbing campaigns ...

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We love a bit of mischief round these parts, they usually come in the form of a publicity stunt and can sometimes get our staff in some tricky and sticky situations. So here’s a collection of some of our most controversial work to date. Enjoy!

1. Amazon Stunt #ShavetheRainforest (2014) 

The jewel in the crown of the Paddy Power mischief dept. Before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, our #Shavetherainforest stunt helped to haul this issue into the public light, with our own little mischievous twist. Many, many, many, very angry people thought Paddy had chopped down a load of trees.

We can’t trust Paddy to put his pants on in the morning or eat a Sunday roast without getting gravy on his best shirt, so God knows what he’d be like operating heavy machinery.

Anyhoo, turns out it was all a bit of craic and no trees were harmed in the making of this campaign. Honest!

2. Bendtner gets lucky (2012) 

He may be plying his trade at Rosenborg these days, but back in 2012 the former Arsenal front-man really put Paddy’s pants on the map at that year’s European Championships.

Nicklas Bendtner enhanced his reputation with a brace of headers. Oh, and he happened to be wearing a pair of PP lucky pants as he did it. What people may not be aware of is that Bendtner forgot to flash his pants after his first goal. That led to much weeping from the mischief planners at Paddy Power. However, not only did he manage to score again, he remembered to flash his resplendent undergarments to the world.

The only bum note was that FIFA’s fun police saw fit to fine Paddy for his light-hearted tomfoolery while Serbia were fined less for their racist fans.  Nicklas is a saint in our eyes and he made Paddy Power Lucky Pants world famous that day. They have gone on to become a symbol of the cheekiness and irreverence inherent in our brand DNA ever since.

3. Polar Bear England ’till I Dye (2018)

What’s it like to tranquilise a 250lb endangered apex predator in deepest, darkest, Arctic Russia? Well, f***ed if we know as Paddy’s 2018 World Cup caper involved a big cuddly bear called Agee, a Canadian rescue ranch and a bag of revels…

You can read the full story of how we focused world attention on the lack of research into this endangered species and how everyone went bat-shit crazy – before they found out the truth.

4. The sky’s the 140-character limit (2012)

Paddy Power took to the skies above the Medinah Country Club (USA) to deliver the world’s first ‘sky tweet’ campaign in support of Team Europe at the 2012 Ryder Cup.

It wasn’t long before everyone at the course saw what was happening and Sky Sports started to broadcast the sky tweets live on air to viewers at home. It was so good the BBC repeated the tweets during their Sports Personality of the Year awards ceremony on Sunday, December 16. Thanks, Beeb. And even Rory McIlroy took time off from handing America their asses (just!) to get in on the act.

5. You’ve Been Punked (2014)

Let’s be honest, The Brit Awards are s**t and we’re in bad need of a de-pantsing. In an effort to make it a little more interesting, we took two interns and dressed them up like internationally renowned dance act Daft Punk. Then, we pushed them out of a limo onto the red carpet.

The media and event organisers were so thrilled at the idea of having the elusive Daft Punk at the event that they didn’t think to check for tickets or ID. It wasn’t until our interns dropped their trousers to reveal our lucky drawers that they were finally rumbled.

6. Brighton Pride – Come out and Play (2018)

In the UK, there are around a million people who identify as LGBTQ, equating to one in 50.

And, yet, of the 500 or so players who’ll be registered in Premier League squads this month, not a single one is gay. It just doesn’t make sense. As we said at the time: It doesn’t matter how you score off the pitch as long as you score on it. We ran an open bus tour of Brighton with the tagline ‘Official Bus of Gay Footballers’ – and of course it was empty. And went down a storm. We’ll be back.

So we called football out on it again. Just like we did by pioneering and launching the Rainbow Laces campaign, which got universal backing across the game.

7. From Sinner to winner (2018)

Ireland has changed a lot since the Pope last visited us in 1979. Gay marriage is now legal, we’ve repealed the Eighth Amendment, and even secretly cheered for England in the World Cup.

After a specially commissioned survey on falling confession rates ahead of Pope Francis’ visit in August, we marked the occasion with a massive drive-thru confessional box near the Phoenix Park where the remorseful could transform themselves from ‘sinner to winner’ in seconds.

The 13m wide x 12m high x 26m deep structure, provided an express lane to eternal salvation for Ireland’s lapsed Catholics.

8. Floyd Mayweather v Conor McGregor (2017)

It was billed as the fight of the ages as the unbeaten pugilist Floyd Mayweather went toe-to-toe with motor-mouth MMA superstar star & Crumlin’s finest Conor McGregor.

As Mayweather slipped off his trousers for his weigh-in – the eyes of the world were drawn to a flash of green.

No, it wasn’t wades of the almighty dollar falling from Money’s deep pockets, it was that the boxing’s icon was sporting the equally legendary Paddy Power Lucky Pants.

Mayweather is known to be a man of expensive tastes and to satisfy him we had to come up with an extra special version of our signature garmentss. Costing around £3,000 the briefs, designed in collaboration with Mayweather, are emblazoned with the phrase ‘always bet on black’ in an apparent gut-shot to his opponent’s ‘f**k you’ pinstripe suit effort during the fighters’ promo tour for the event.

9. Royal Ascot Drunk Tank (2018)

Just in time for Royal Ascot 2018, Paddy unveiled a new mobile unit: ‘The Drunk Tank’. This pioneering service was our way of cleaning up the streets and was 100pc guaranteed to prevent a Royal Rumble at Britain’s most prestigious race meeting.

The custom-built unit featured a hydraulic tail lift, which Paddy personally tested, for ease of loading.

“It’s the most comfortable piece of machinery I’ve sat in since I fell asleep in the bucket of a JCB,” he said.

Don’t ask!

10. Gay Goals – From Russia, with Equal Love (2018)

It was a wild World Cup where everyone went from hating Jesse Lingard to practicing his dance moves in the mirror, saw Neymar break his personal rolling-on-the-floor record and Russia donated £170,000 to LGBT+ causes.

Not content with Putin Vladimar’s nose out of joint (see what we did there) with our Polar Bear antics pre-World Cup, we decided to highlight Russia’s homophobic stance on gay rights.

We vowed to pay £10,000 per Russian goal to the Attitude Magazine Foundation – increasing the sleepless nights of homophobes across the host nation and Paddy Power’s bean counters when the final figure came in at £170k.