Sports betting company removes Boris Johnson from football advertising

The script for the high-profile ad has been approved, stars have been hired and the creative team at Irish sports betting company Paddy Power believe they have a winner ahead of a big summer of sport.

Even with his back turned and even before his big reveal, the man wearing England’s No. 10 football shirt is instantly recognizable by his figure and shockingly bright hair: Boris Johnson.

“I told you I would take us back to Europe,” the script calls for Mr. Johnson to say, a light-hearted — and untrue — quip from a man who helped lead the war. The Brexit epidemic led to the UK leaving the European Union.

But the ad will never air.

Paddy Power, which has its headquarters in Dublin, was forced to cancel the planned clip – which was due to form the basis of an advertising campaign for a busy summer that will include the European and World Cup football championships. Paris Olympics – following backlash from their staff in the UK.

The decision was confirmed by two people familiar with the campaign and its demise. They said the advertising script had been provided to Mr Johnson. A spokesman for Mr. Johnson did not respond to a request for comment.

The people asked not to be named to discuss the company’s internal decisions and because of the sensitivity of linking the company to Mr. Johnson, who led his Conservative Party to a majority in the election. national election in 2019 but his term ended after a series of controversies. Scandals engulfed his prime ministership.

According to these people, Paddy Power employees in the UK said they were uncomfortable promoting a divisive figure like Mr. Johnson, and especially with language mocking Brexit, an issue that has divided the country. polarized and damaged relationships with countries across the continent. .

“We spoke to Boris Johnson’s team about a number of opportunities, one of which was an idea for a cameo in a TV commercial,” said Paddy Power’s parent company, US-based Flutter Entertainment. Ky, said in a statement to The New York Times.

The company confirmed that Mr Johnson’s role in the Euro 2024 campaign scheduled to air in the coming weeks had been removed but did not say why.

“We remain hopeful of working together in the near future,” it added.

A British tabloid, The Sun on Sunday, news that Mr Johnson would front Paddy Power’s Euro 2024 campaign earlier this month.

As a gambling company known for its aggressive advertising tactics, Paddy Power has never been shy about pushing the boundaries with its advertisements, which often attract significant attention, although not all of them positive. In 2010, a campaign featured a blind football player kick a cat received hundreds of complaints. (Rice power speak advertises “an act that is absurdly improbable” and the cat is unharmed.)

Two years later, they had to pay a fine of approx 100,000 USD to UEFA, European football’s governing body, on behalf of a Danish footballer who promoted his underwear brand after scoring a goal at the 2012 European Championship. forever violated regulations prohibiting players from displaying advertisements on clothing other than football uniforms.

In 2020 it give an apology for using “derogatory and derogatory” language after sharing a video on social media in which a football fan made homophobic comments.

Including Mr Johnson was apparently a step too far for some staff at Paddy Power’s London office.

The former Conservative leader’s association with Paddy Power contradicts some of the views his government espouses on gambling. When he was prime minister, the government called on the English football federation cancel a multi-million dollar sponsorship contract with a famous betting company.


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