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Good and Bad PR: The Power of Paddy Power

Good PR  

One of Paddy Power’s World Cup campaigns has landed the bookmaker some really decent PR coverage, simply because it’s a genius (and rather lovely) idea.

Every time Russia scores a goal during this year’s tournament, Paddy Power has vowed to donate £10k to LGBT+ causes (and it promised to donate a minimum of £50,000 in the result of no goals, but Russia started with a 5-0, so that’s a great start). It is calling the campaign, ‘From Russia, with equal love’ and this whole idea was born out of Russia’s backward laws that restrict the rights of LGBT+ people. It’s a nation that is known for its conservative and, quite frankly, ignorant views towards homosexuality, with gay fans travelling to the World Cup being warned that they could face abuse, both verbal and physical, at the hands of unaccepting Russian hooligans (and protection from authorities could be pretty poor).

Paddy Power has said that it will donate the funds for every goal Russia score, to challenge the well-documented prejudice of the nation (and also many others around the world and on the football scene). It’s all in conjunction with Attitude Magazine’s Foundation and Paddy Power has said that the funds will go towards:

  • Challenging LGBT+ prejudice on and off the field
  • Support footballers and those in the game in coming out
  • Fund educational programmes in schools and colleges
  • Make grass-roots teams safe spaces for LGBT+ players

The result of this campaign, which Paddy Power says is “making accidental allies of the World Cup home nation” is that loads of people are getting behind the Russian team in the hope that they score plenty of goals and more money will be donated to great LGBT+ causes; something which most of Russia will not be best pleased about. It’s all so brilliant!

Transgender Caitlyn Jenner, a former Olympian, is supporting the campaign and even put a video up on Twitter explaining why she was a Russia fan this year.


The campaign was supported with ads in the national newspapers, showing a likeness of Putin depicted as a Russian doll. Paddy Power’s quote even said “Given they invented Russian Dolls, you’d be forgiven for thinking Russia wouldn’t have an issue with women being into other women.” The page on the betting site that explains the reasoning behind the campaign even says that it aims to “wind up a few gammon-headed Russian homophobes”… which I’m sure it will, absolutely beautifully.

Bad PR  

A former chairman of Transport for London, Brian Cooke, has been scolded in the press and social media after branding three young graffiti artists that were hit and killed by a freight train this week in London as “common scum and criminals who cost the railway millions and keep fares high”. He made his opinion known that he had an issue with the fact the BBC referred to the men as graffiti “artists”, claiming that they were “no such thing”.

His comments were made on Twitter just hours after news broke of the bodies being found on Monday morning. The young men were aged between 19 and 23 and tributes have been paid on social media after they lost their lives.

Cooke has since made his Twitter account private, but countless articles have been run about his insensitive comments and he has been reprimanded for his lack of respect for the victims’ grieving families.

It’s not the first time that he’s been in hot water either; having been suspended by the Tories earlier this year after he called a rival a “two-faced slut” and also having been sacked as the chairman of London Transport Users Committee for ‘inappropriate political activity’. Sounds like a right idiot, to be honest.

Written by Shannon Peerless, 10 Yetis @ShazzaYeti on Twitter.
Seen any good or bad PR lately? You know what to do @10Yetis on Twitter or on email

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