Paddy Power is known for the jokey tone of its marketing campaigns and has had its run-ins with the Advertising Standards Authority in the past. But it recently showed a more serious side, undertaking its first brand-led corporate social responsibility campaign, tackling the issue of homophobia in football in a tie-up with Stonewall.
The campaign saw the bookmaker send a pair of rainbow-coloured shoelaces to every professional footballer in the country – about 5,000 men (none of whom is publicly out as being gay at the time of writing) – national press advertising and a series of Promoted Tweets.
The aim was to get footballers wearing the laces, as a symbol of kicking out homophobia, as well as to get football fans to support the campaign by tweeting with the hashtag #RBGF, standing for Right Behind Gay Footballers (you can see that Paddy Power didn’t quite leave behind the jokiness for this campaign).
They also garnered some high profile support from QPR’s Joey Barton and Stephen Fry, among others.
— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) September 15, 2013
It shouldn’t matter what team you play for. I am right behind gay footballers (stop it!) #RBGF – RT to show support
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) September 18, 2013
Over a week, there were around 38,000 uses of the hashtag and 72,000 tweets in the UK that mentioned the campaign. Twitter says that it made a total of 101 million impressions, attributing part of the success to the good choice of hashtag.
Christian Woolfenden, Global Marketing Director at Paddy Power, said of the campaign: “Twitter is now where everyone goes to talk about the things they have a passion for. The first conversation we had about this campaign was what will the hashtag be. That’s what pulls it all together. It would have been a very different campaign without Twitter.”