‘Conspiring with our punters makes us accessible’ – Paddy Power’s head of social on why it's hiding cheeky Snapchat ‘easter eggs’ in its TV ads

Paddy Power is renowned for its PR stunts. From sending a Mexican Mariachi band to welcome Trump to Scotland to floating a 63ft pair of y-fronts over Cheltenham races its marketing is always mischievous, and often controversial.

Its latest initiative, however, is a little more subtle and harnesses the power of social to increase the value of its recently launched TV campaign, ‘You Beauty’. The concept will see some of Paddy Power’s regular Twitter gags and Snapchat characters pop up traditional ads, giving a nod to the brand’s online presence and letting loyal social fans in on the joke.

Created by incumbent agency Lucky Generals, ‘You Beauty’ uses re-worded pop classics to celebrate the ridiculous optimism of real sports fans. The first iteration, ‘Steward’ tells the story of a football steward who must face away from the match to manage a particularly unruly crowd. Although he is depicted as missing all the action going on behind him he gets the last laugh after he wins a bet he placed against the home team’s fixture. On the boarding around the pitch behind the main character there’s a placard which reads ‘Fan Denial’ in reference to the bookmaker’s weekly Twitter series which showcases tweets from perturbed supporters.

With a total of five TV spots poised to go live, eagle-eyed viewers can expect plenty of the same. The second film, 'Horse Racing' (below) features a special appearance from its recurring Snapchat Stories character ‘Office Bellend’.

“We’ve wanted to bring the sharp-witted humour from our social channels to TV for a while now and this seemed like just the right opportunity,” Micheal Nagle, Paddy Power’s head of social and digital content, told The Drum.

The digital lead noted that viewers are currently “divided by multiple forms of media,” and acknowledged that the brand is in no way guaranteed to reach everyone through TV. As such the ads will also be run as paid Facebook slots to reach the “right people at the right frequency".

He also hinted that the campaign will run on Snapchat itself, with Paddy Power hoping to host user-generated karaoke competitions in conjunction with the ads; an idea which would be similar to Sainsbury’s recent ‘The Greatest Gift’ Snapchat extension.

Paddy Power is one of the many marketers that are still figuring out how to marry TV and social campaigns to get the best results; a challenge that will undoubtedly come to affect how the wider industry approaches media planning and buying.

While it’s not yet clear how this particular campaign will come to inform the brand’s media strategy going forward, Nagle asserted that decisions about future media planning and buying will come when the team gets a sense of how its social campaigns are boosting reach in comparison to TV.

Interestingly, Paddy Power will measure the success of the TV campaign by examining the sentiment on social, with Nagle noting: “We feel that our long-standing social customers will believe that they’re ‘in’ on the joke, it will give them a little kick and put a smile on their face.”

Social already plays a major role in Paddy Power’s mix thanks to round-the-clock Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat posts and when it comes to creating content the betting shop prides itself in thinking like a publisher. Speaking to The Drum last year the brand’s head of engagement Paul Mallon said he was studying the methods of top publishers to see how he could adapt.

“I can’t think of many brands who produce the standard of in-house social and editorial content that we do, but that’s not to say we can’t be smarter about what we produce, with even clearer measurement of the impact it has on customers,” he said at the time.

With these easter eggs, its clear the brand doesn’t want to leave behind smaller audiences and loyal fans, instead choosing to harness their power as potential influencers rather than just appealing to the masses. “It’s a nice little reward to the early adopters to our Snapchat channel. Conspiring with our punters, makes us accessible and grounded as a brand,” finished Nagle.

Check out eight of Paddy Powers bes stunts from over there years here.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.