Publicity hungry bookmaker Paddy Power has succeeded in generating more headlines after tweeting out a message confirming that it would be paying out early on an expected Floyd Mayweather victory in his clash with Conor McGregor this Saturday.
Hackles were raised however when the bookies chose the phrase ‘We always bet on black’ to accompany the message, sparking a flurry of responses from boxing fans who accused the bookies of naked racism.
Depicting a triumphant Mayweather showered with dollar bills the full advert read: “Always bet on black. We've paid out early on a Mayweather victory. Because we checked only one of them is a boxer.”
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) August 23, 2017
This sparked a cavalcade of responses with many pointing out the apparent ‘racism of the message.
I have to say, as much as I love you paddy power, that has racism written all over it.
— Liam (@Gr33n0L) August 23, 2017
In response to the rising tide of criticism Paddy Power insisted that the quote had been misunderstood and had been used in reference to a ‘classic movie line’ from 1992 flick, Passenger 57.
In a statement a defiant Paddy Power spokesman said: “Like Wesley Snipes – who famously delivered the line – Floyd Mayweather is rightfully proud of his identity and, while the advert does reference his race, it does so in a manner which isn’t in any way derogatory or insulting.
“It’s also a betting-related pun which references a roulette wheel. Because we’re about gambling – get it? If people don’t like it that’s entirely their prerogative.”
Marketers are working overdrive as excitement builds over what has been dubbed a 'billion dollar fight', driven by what is expected to be the biggest pay-per-view audience in television history.