On Monday, the Metro newspaper dedicated its entire issue to supporting the Paddy Power/Stonewall Rainbow Laces campaign, which aims to tackle homophobia in football. As well as running a Rainbow Laces graphic across every page, the issue saw brands including Premier Inn, Google, and Smirnoff create special ads. The campaign is our Ad of the Week.
Paddy Power and Stonewall launched the Rainbow Laces campaign last year, with players and pundits encouraged to wear the special laces to show their affiliation with the initiative, and Paddy Power running a series of ads. Despite the seriousness of Paddy Power’s mission with the campaign, last year’s ads featured lines including ‘right behind gay footballers’, which while typical of the brand’s cheekiness, led to accusations of a publicity stunt. This time, the bookmakers has taken a more sober approach with the two ads it featured in the Metro: one states ‘Let’s get one thing straight. We support gay players’, while the other simply says ‘It only takes two minutes to change the game’.
Paddy Power’s real coup with the campaign was bringing other brands on board (some of the ads featured shown above and below). This kind of ad campaign has been done before: earlier this year ITV ran an ad break created entirely in Lego to promote The Lego Movie, while in 2009 HBO promoted its second series of True Blood via a series of ads aimed at vampires from real brands. But it’s a strategy that is extremely hard to achieve, with brands only likely to join in when it’s a project they believe in, or will be good for them to be affliated with.
“Whilst last year brought attention to the issue and got people talking about it, we really wanted to make a change this year (it is genuinely not a Paddy Power publicity stunt),” says Chris Nunn, media manager at Paddy Power. “So we always wanted to invite as much support as possible, including asking other brands to unite and lend their support to gather as much momentum as we could. And, in a typical Paddy Power way, what would be a better way to do this than to find something that had never been done before?! Lego had obviously done something similar on TV, which was fantastic, so the idea was to set about trying to emulate that in press, making it impossible for readers to ignore the issue.”
The entire campaign, from idea to print date, was pulled off in just a month. This short turnaround made it impossible for some brands to join in, as they couldn’t get their copy signed off in time (an insight into the convoluted process behind getting an ad out perhaps), but many did, including Premier Inn, who made the boldest change, by adapting their brand name to ‘Premier Out’ for the ad. Other brands who didn’t take part in the newspaper edition, showed their support via Twitter: these included Lidl and O2.
The Rainbow Laces campaign continues over this weekend, with Paddy Power encouraging players and fans to pledge their support to it during the weekend’s matches. Alongside the Metro issue, the campaign is being promoted by an ad, below, which features the Arsenal team:
Ad agency: Lucky Generals
Media agency: M2M