One of the most audacious guerilla marketing stunts ever planned has been kicked firmly in the teeth after Paddy Power persuaded Luis Suarez to wear a branded mouth-guard – only for Fifa to ban the striker before his next match.
The plan was first hatched last summer when the bookmaker discussed sponsoring Suarez’s gum shield for his return match to the Premier League, following his ban for taking a chunk out of Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.
Paddy Power sources, talking to the Irish Independent, said negotiations broke down due to a disagreement over the fee.
But a new plan was put in place whereby Suarez would reveal a Paddy Power branded mouth guard while singing the national anthem before Uruguay’s game against Columbia in the last-16 knock-out round.
However, Fifa’s immediate four-month ban, for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, blew the plan out of the water, although Paddy Power sources claimed it was “the best ambush marketing campaign that never was”.
The firm is no stranger to controversial ad campaigns. In the Euro 2012 competition, the firm paid a €100,000 fine to Uefa after Danish striker Nicholas Bendtner flashed some Paddy Power-branded pants while celebrating his goal against Ukraine.
And in the run-up to this World Cup the firm also attempted to rename a number of its shops to “Pele Power” after the Brazilian player, but the plan had to be abandoned after the player sought legal action.
Meanwhile, its campaign offering odds on whether Oscar Pistorious was guilty or not was met with widespread condemnation and ultimately led to a ban by the Advertising Standards Authority.
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