Home Paddy Power backs out of Euro 2024 ad featuring Boris Johnson

Paddy Power backs out of Euro 2024 ad featuring Boris Johnson

Paddy Power has reneged on a planned Euro 2024 advertising campaign featuring Boris Johnson after a backlash from its staff.

The former United Kingdom Prime Minister had reportedly agreed to a cameo role in the ad ahead of soccer’s European Championship international tournament, this summer. The Irish-based gambling giant is well-known for its irreverent and often controversial advertising tactics, often featuring publicity stunts to capture headlines and create talking points.

Recent ads have sparked fury, including one which depicted a blind soccer player kicking a cat and another social media video containing homophobic comments.

Johnson, the figurehead of the Brexit campaign in 2016, was set to wear an England jersey and proclaim, “I told you I would get us back in Europe,” as part of the bookmaker’s promotional activity. It represents something of an irony given his political rhetoric and activity in recent times but the eccentric politician is no stranger to a stunt, nor to take advantage of an opportunity. Some would say he perfectly fits Paddy Power’s self-deprecating brand.

However, the U-turn appears to have emerged following unease among its workforce at using “a figure as divisive as Johnson” and language that humorously poked fun at the Brexit situation.

Paddy Power still wants to work with Boris Johnson

Flutter Entertainment-owned Paddy Power confirmed they had been in negotiations with representatives of the former London Mayor and although the Euro 2024 campaign would not proceed, they hoped to collaborate in the future.

A spokesperson for the company said, “We have been speaking to Boris Johnson’s team about a number of opportunities, one of which was an idea for a cameo role in a TV advert.

With a general election on the horizon in the UK, Johnson is expected to be abroad for most of the campaign but he is set to lend his presence to the Conservatives remotely. He is a polarising figure but still commands significant support among the electorate despite standing down from frontline politics in June 2023.

Image credit: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

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Graeme Hanna
Tech Journalist

Graeme Hanna is a full-time, freelance writer with significant experience in online news as well as content writing. Since January 2021, he has contributed as a football and news writer for several mainstream UK titles including The Glasgow Times, Rangers Review, Manchester Evening News, MyLondon, Give Me Sport, and the Belfast News Letter. Graeme has worked across several briefs including news and feature writing in addition to other significant work experience in professional services. Now a contributing news writer at ReadWrite.com, he is involved with pitching relevant content for publication as well as writing engaging tech news stories.

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