Fri, 24 Feb 2023 12:58:00 GMT
Paddy Power has saddled up with agency BBH London to ride the line of rivalry between Ireland and Great Britain as both nations go under starters orders for The Cheltenham Festival.
It should come as no surprise that a brand steeped in Irish heritage would serve up a TV ad with savagely entertaining storytelling sitting at its core.
But ‘Cheltenham 2023’ marks a gear change for Paddy Power as we see the wickedly mischievous betting brand back at its best with this, their latest campaign – the first since BBH was appointed to handle the brand’s integrated advertising business in January.
Featuring the ultimate sequel from the Irish bookie ahead of the marathon four-day horse racing bonanza, BBH zeros in on the friendly (and at times not so friendly!) banter that ignites between both sets of punters when they meet annually. Through it, they achieve the ultimate creative springboard to maintain a continuous narrative steeped in insight.
Hollywood heavyweight Colm Meaney picks up where he left off for the brand in 2019, as the Irishman finds himself face-to-face with Paddy Power Football Ambassador Peter Crouch (all 6ft 7” of him!) at the gates of the hallowed racetrack.
Disembarking from a bus packed full of fellow Irish racegoers he runs straight into ‘the opposition’, led by Peter, with a supporting role from his leading lady, model & wife Abbey Clancy. The squad of British racing fans – including Barry from Eastenders (Shaun Williamson) - get stuck into ‘the visitors’, with Peter the first to strike with a smirk: “Oi, Oi. Didn’t think you lads would turn up this year.”
Colm kicks back by referring to Cheltenham as “our patch”, but Barry intervenes, “You’ve been punching above your weight for too long.”. As she nudges her 6ft 7” hubby, much to his disgust, Abbey hilariously pipes up: “I’ve been saying that to him for years!”
As the exchange cranks up a gear, Colm kicks back, claiming the last time the home side had more winners at Cheltenham they “still had an economy”. The mud-slinging continues apace when Peter brings up mention of Ireland’s failure to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar & St Patrick being Welsh.
‘The Irish’ retort takes things up a notch when someone in the background yells, “At least he wasn’t English!” and fire off labels like “penalty chokers” and “queue lovers” as both sides discharge a volley of ridiculous insults back and forth.
But an incensed Barry’ finally crosses the line when he levels Colm and co. with an insult from which there is almost no recovery, when he roars: “Tayto munchers!”. He realises he’s taken the name of a hallowed Irish national treasure in vain, everything comes to a jarring halt. “We’re just having a bit of craic here!” a stunned Colm replies.
The awkward exchange is swept to one side as quickly as it began when they realise they’re about to miss the first race, but Barry delivers a devilishly self-deprecating parting shot for the Brits when, after Colm remarks that he looked under pressure back there, he quips “It’s almost impossible for me to sweat!”
Directed by Freddie Waters and produced by Pulse, it concludes with Peter and Colm standing shoulder-to-shoulder (well, shoulder-to-elbow really) as they push their way through the turnstiles.
Both the ad and the wider campaign aims to cement Paddy Power’s reputation as the UK & Ireland’s most talked about betting brand during the festival.
Karen Martin, BBH, CEO said “We’re thrilled to be working with Paddy Power, what a brand. We're delighted that our first work is for Cheltenham, such an important event in the horse racing calendar. Our lively take on the English vs Irish rivalry offers a fresh perspective on its legacy as a mischievous brand not afraid to have fun. And we’re here for all of it.”
Paddy Power marketing director Michelle Spillane explained “As a brand, we take huge pride in our craft as storytellers. The skill comes in spinning tales with strong cultural resonance in a light-hearted way that’s pickled with razor-sharp wit. That’s where the magic lives and how we know it will entertain the hell out of our audience. This style of advertising marks a return to Paddy Power at its best. We wanted to show our customers that their wagers are part of a far broader narrative and get them under starter's orders for the greatest show in horse racing.”
In addition to TV, executions will run across social, print, OOH and radio, playing out in all channels through the customer journey, retaining Paddy Power’s cultural clout as an iconic Irish entertainment brand.
The campaign will break on February 25th and will run throughout the UK and Ireland for three weeks with a series of executions that remain on the cutting edge of the narrative.