Its spoof viral campaign caught me totally by surprise when, on the day Giggsy’s name was revealed I received an email with the eye-popping headline “BREAKING NEWS: Gavin Wheeler denies Super-Injunction!”. On opening it, a CNN-style newsreel broadcast started with the same headline scrolling across the screen below the newsreader as she tells a convincing story about my alleged indiscretions. What football supporter would fail to be drawn into this and laugh at the cheekiness and timeliness of the campaign?
The script is cleverly written and interviews and comment from a ‘friend’ and, of course, a Paddy Power spokesperson commenting on the odds of me winning Sports Personality of the Year, were funny and engaging. However, the devil is in the detail – and that’s what adds real class to the campaign; there are hilarious comments, personalised to me, posted in the forum below the story, newspaper coverage with my name in the headlines, viewers’ polls rating my behaviour and football in-jokes appearing as breaking news too.
All of which added up to a campaign that demonstrated a real understanding of the humour and banter of lads and, especially, sports fans. Not only that, it also fitted perfectly with Paddy Power’s own irreverent brand values.
The only downside for me was the appearance of so-called reporter Des Parker at the High Court – as I know him and that he’s not called Des as he’s the dad of one of my son’s friends from the school football team! Not much Paddy Power could have done about that, though…
I’m not a great one for sending on viral emails typically but this one very quickly made the rounds of my office and friends. Seems I’m not the only one, too, as a number of celebs went on to tweet about it using the ‘send to a friend’ functionality – with Lord Sugar, no less, sending it on to Piers Morgan. If it’s good enough for Sugar, then it’s good enough for me.
Gavin Wheeler is managing director at WDMP
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