I’ve long been a silent admirer of the marketing antics of Paddy Power, the Irish bookmaker, but I feel it’s time to come out of the closet and openly declare my huge Twitter crush on @PaddyPower.
The seemingly ‘don’t give a shit’ approach is proving to be a powerful marketing strategy, but the truth is, their strategy is to give their customers and potential customers what they want – and that means they do give a shit!
They know their market, and rather than trying the hard sell approach, they have earned their fans’ loyalty. Through banter, controversy, engagement, humour, and originality, they have won the hearts of the Twitter masses. Not for the prudish or easily offended, Paddy’s tweets have pushed the boundaries and at times have received a negative backlash. Is that bad? Hell no! It’s just what they want! More attention, more controversy, more Twitter Power!
From horsemeat to Pistorius, the World Cup to the Pope – nothing is sacred.
What’s the secret Paddy Power recipe?
2 cups of ‘know your market’
They know their audience. So much so, they’ve earned their stripes and become one of the lads! Watching their live tweets even today, it reads like a group of lads kicking back with a few beers and doing what the lads do – taking the piss!
3 tblsp powerful branding
They live and breathe their brand on every platform. The Paddy Power brand is unmistakably mischievous – and that is manifested in everything they do.
They’re oozing with personality. Part of their powerful branding is their unmistakable personality. Cheeky and funny. That’s it – Paddy is the cheeky chappie of brands on Twitter.
2 pints of engagement
They engage directly with their fans. It’s not just about broadcasting their own witty material and offers, they get involved in the conversation, retweet and reward their fans who are on the same wavelength, encourage interaction and are the masters of Twitter banter. And the engagement is not limited to their followers, as Ladbrokes found out!
‘We hear you’, they say. And they’ve proven it, using their social media engagement in their other marketing activities. This video about how they used their fans tweets to create waves at the Ryder Cup in 2012 says it all.
A pinch of selling
Yes, every brand needs to drive sales, call their followers to take action, prompt them to buy. And Paddy does this. Not by adopting a sell, sell, sell approach, but by reminding their fans and updating them on latest odds, offers and specials. These tweets are sprinkled amongst the craic and banter, cleverly camouflaged so as not to alienate, but to further engage. The perfect approach to selling on Twitter. And their personality is not lost – poor Rory!
Half a tub of originality
They’re original. Let’s just look at what happened last night on Twitter. @Paddy Power received a text message from Steve. Steve had met Jess the night before, and he thought this was her number. Step in Paddy masquerading as Jess, and Twitter was alight with #PPtexts. This is pure gold Paddy! It’s what prompted me to sit down and write this virtual love letter. I am in awe!
This is how it started:
What followed was a hilarious exchange between Paddy and Steve (who still thinks he’s texting Jess from Dicey’s), which was fuelled by tweeters prompting Paddy on what to say. #PPtexts was trending and the commentary was priceless…
When the time came to come clean, Steve was a great sport – d’oh!
View the full Steve and Jess exchange on Entertainment.ie. And you should check out the #PPtexts hashtag to see some of the banter and wit.
I had hoped Paddy would make it up to Steve by launching a search for the real Jess (#PaddyseeksJess could easily have trended tonight), and sending them both off on a date to the races. I quite possibly would have proposed to you Paddy if you had made it happen! Alas, it looks like a lost cause Steve, #JessSaysNo…
Of course, there are questions being asked about whether this was another stunt crafted by the Paddy Powers that be, or if Steve and Jess are real people who unwittingly stepped into the Twitter spotlight. Either way, it’s bloody genius Paddy, so I don’t really care!
Edit: Since posting this, several people have got in touch about #pptexts – people saying it was all fabricated, and some just found it a bit of a cheap stunt.
I’ll clarify my position. Yes, it may well be fabricated – highly likely. Cheap stunt? Aren’t they all?! The fact is, if they completely masterminded this, I think like it even more. Who comes up with this stuff?!
No cost, had Twitter completely eating out of the palm of their hand, and everyone’s still talking about it, including Huffington Post, Brand Republic, Daily Mail, The Drum, Journal.ie, and a host of other news and marketing sites from here to Australia. Paddy Power just got free media coverage the world over, as well as the adoration of millions of tweeters.
And you, the detractors, those who didn’t see the funny side or appreciate the genius behind it all – you’re still talking about it too.
I rest my case. Take a bow Paddy.
2 bucket loads of humour
They inject bucket loads of humour. Well, pretty much everything I’ve shown here demonstrates this, but there’s always room for a bit more humour so here’s a few more examples..
1 large scoop of ‘on the ball’
They’re topical and relevant – masters of real time marketing. Stunts such as their Ryder Cup tweets in the sky are obviously pre-planned, but they can do off the cuff, real time tweeting genius every bit as well.
They seek out controversy. Most brands avoid Twitter controversy like the ebola virus, not these guys – they thrive on it. I can only imagine the @PaddyPower Twitter account manager’s job description reading along the lines of, ‘be cheeky and push the boundaries at all times. Be sure to take the piss out of every sporting figure, commentator and pundit at any given opportunity. Relax, grab a beer, and enjoy the craic.’
Their World Cup stunt which suggested they’d cleared part of the Amazon in support of the England team hit a raw nerve with many, as this piece from Marketing Magazine shows.
And then there was this…
According to this feature by The Drum, In 2013 the ASA received 121 complaints about 49 Paddy Power ads. Result lads!
“Speaking directly of the complaints Paddy Power receives, Woolfenden remarked: “The complaints are never from your own consumers, for us we know our consumer and we receive around 95 per cent positive commentary, then you get the five per cent who have an opinion on everything, and actually if we don’t get complaints we’re quite disappointed.”” – The Drum
Repeat, repeat, repeat…
They’re consistent and always present. This isn’t just about the odd stunt to get column inches – yes, they do that brilliantly, but this is about consistently producing those original, funny and controversial tweets every day. They’re engaging in the banter with their fans every day – they’re on it!
So there you have it, my Twitter crush laid bare. There’s lessons for all of us on how to use Twitter for our marketing, how to demonstrate personality, how to use controversy and how to engage our followers. So, if you haven’t already, follow @PaddyPower and fall for the most entertaining brand on Twitter.
Until next time Paddy x
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