Paddy Power gamble pays off

Bookmaker's debut TV ad featuring former sporting heroes delivers a positive response.

Brands that have never advertised on TV before are something of a rarity, although bookmakers have historically fallen into this bracket due to prohibitive legislation.

However, when the Gambling Act, which came into force on 1 September 2007, allowed casinos, bookmakers and gambling websites to advertise on TV and radio for the first time, Ladbrokes became the first high-street bookmaker to advertise on TV.

Following Ladbrokes' successful campaign, fellow bookmaker Paddy Power has followed suit.

Paddy Power has dabbled in TV advertising in the Republic of Ireland before, using humorous - and occasionally controversial - campaigns in a variety of media, but it has never previously advertised on TV in the UK.

In this way, Paddy Power's latest campaign, which ran from 27 February to 14 March, broke new ground for the brand.

The ad featured several former sports stars, including footballer Carlton Palmer and jump jockey Richard Dunwoody, and aimed to raise awareness of a money-back special offer.

BrandIndex suggests the brand has benefited from its previously uncharted territory. The graph shows the net buzz score for Paddy Power relative to a basket of competitor brands - labelled Bookmakers' Benchmark - which comprises rivals Coral, Ladbrokes, Stan James and William Hill.

Despite the lifting of the ban on TV and radio advertising, none of the bookmaker brands are heavy TV advertisers.

The Bookmakers' Benchmark illustrates this well: the brands tend to have a stable buzz score, sitting between 0 and -1, unless a specific event affects one of the brands. Typically, Paddy Power scores slightly higher than the benchmark, with the buzz score sitting between -1 and +1.

When the Paddy Power ad first aired, the buzz rating for the brand was 0. However, on 13 March, its buzz score had shot up to an impressive +4 - the highest the brand has achieved in the past 12 months.

With such a positive response relative to the brand's usual buzz score, it would make sense for Paddy Power to use TV more often - particularly as many of its rivals are still reluctant to exploit this medium.

METHODOLOGY: YouGov interviews 2,000 people each weekday to form its BrandIndex, a daily measure of public perception of more than 1,100 consumer brands across 32 sectors. It is measured on a seven-point profile:
1. Buzz
2. General impression
3. Quality
4. Value
5. Satisfaction
6. Recommend
7. Corporate reputation.
In addition, we supply an index score.

Richard Wood, www.brandindex.co.uk

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