Paddy Power took to Brighton Pride to put pressure on the Premier League to better support LGBT players. The league currently has no openly LGBT footballers despite roughly 2% of the population identifying as such.
At the Brighton Pride festival this weekend, the brand enlisted male models (Paddy's Angels) to launch 5,000 pairs of Paddy Pants (rainbow-themed) into the crowd, a worthy follow up to its Rainbow Laces initiative in the Premier League.
As teams in the league submit their final squads for the coming season, Paddy Power outlined the fact there currently no out, gay footballers in the league. It used an empty open top bus to get the point across.
Paul Mallon, head of major brand activations at Paddy Power, said: “The central idea behind the campaign was to encourage gay players to step up and come out, not just for themselves, but for the millions of LGBTQ fans and athletes worldwide that need a role model.
“This wasn’t just a marketing exercise. It was a call-to-action to right a very evident wrong in football – a sport we live and breathe. We’re obsessed with the Premier League, but the elephant in the room regarding gay players is now impossible to ignore. We think that the world’s best-watched sporting league should reflect the community around it, and hope we can play a small part in effecting that change.
“On Saturday, we fired 5,000 of special-edition Lucky Pants into the crowd via winged PP Angels, which is probably a career highlight and one to tell the kids about."
Mallon concluded: “The bus during the parade is the centrepiece of our campaign - an open-top tour celebrating gay Premier League players (yes, it’s empty) during a raucous Pride parade will catch people’s attention. But an empty bus that’s fully equipped with flamboyant props and loud music is even more striking. Like a birthday party with a cake and decorations that no one shows up to, it’s at once both sad and thought-provoking. (Which is just the message we’re trying to get across).”
The activity was promoted with yet another full page Metro ad alongside some editorial highlighting the issue in the league. It also rolled out a bespoke Snapchat filter.
The irreverent bookmaker built upon its LGBT World Cup activity where it donated £170,000 (£10,000 a goal) to Attitude Foundation every time Russia scored.