Burton Albion were drawn against the mighty Man United and we stepped in to sponsor the minnows. The luck of the Irish certainly rubbed off and Burton managed to hold the Champions to a draw, which meant a replay at Old Trafford.
Not only was the match live on TV, but the Burton keeper was also pictured on the front page of The Times holding a Paddy Power scarf with the message “We’re going to Old Trafford”. You couldn’t buy it! Man United stuffed them in the replay.
Back to religion. This was without a doubt the best craic ever had in the guise of work. It went something like this –
We had been betting on who would be next Pope for a number of years, and when John Paul II was obviously very ill, interest in his successor soared.
When Pope John Paul II died, there was a period of mourning in Rome and the world’s media were camped in Rome with nothing to talk about. We though it would be a good idea to give them a story.
So Paddy & Ken (Power & Robertson) packed their bags and jumped on a plane to Rome. They went straight to St. Peter’s Square, set up a bookie stand and began shouting the odds.
There was huge interest from the public in Rome as everyone wanted to know who the bookies thought would be next Pope. The media caught the bug too and over the course of 3 days they were interviewed on more than 90 international TV networks.
This was the PR coup of coups. Keith Miller of NBC had a point when he said, “It costs £1,000 per second to advertise on primetime NBC, you got a 10 minute interview, go do the math!”
Thousands of new accounts were opened and the bets poured in with almost €1 million bet on the Papacy.
The highlight of the adventure was when Ken had a gun pulled on him by a member of the Italian Secret Service, he somehow managed to evade capture!
Later in the year we found ourselves in hot water due to our advertising once again. This turned out to be the most controversial ever of our ads.
The idea behind the campaign was to depict clearly inappropriate situations for people to be betting with the tag line “there’s a place for fun & games”.
The one particular ad that caused a stir was a depiction of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper with Jesus and his apostles surrounded by roulette wheels and betting chips. We were obviously making the point that The Last Supper was an in appropriate place for fun and games – some people didn’t quite see it like that.
Once again, the ad was banned. Once again opinion was divided. Once again people were talking.