27th June 2021
9th March 2012 - Bookie White Horse stunt an odds-on PR winner
One of the best things about working in PR is that you get the chance to inject a bit of fun and frivolity into what can often otherwise be a very dull and dreary news agenda.
Giving readers entertainment is as important to newspapers as serious news reporting. And so journalists and editors are always on the lookout for something that offers a welcome diversion from the almost continuous flow of stories about war, civil unrest, natural disasters and global recession.
So when leading Irish bookie Paddy Power came up with an ingenious and eye-catching PR stunt involving Oxfordshire’s world-famous Uffington White Horse few would have bet against the bookmaker getting prize media coverage just in time for this year’s Cheltenham Festival.
Under the cover of darkness, the company secretly added a jockey to the ancient chalk figure, complete with reins and a racing helmet bearing the initials PP to represent the Paddy Power brand.
The temporary installation, cut from a 100 x 200 ft sheet of white canvas, was pegged to the ground using tiny tent pegs to avoid damage to the iconic Berkshire Downs landmark.
And sure enough, when daylight broke, Paddy Power immediately got the widespread publicity they were looking for, with numerous local, regional and national newspapers clambering in to cover the story.
Following the success of its giant Hollywood-style sign at the Cheltenham Festival of 2010, the White Horse jockey is the latest such stunt by the cheeky PR-savvy bookmaker.
And already we cannot wait to see what Paddy Power will come up with next. So with several major sporting events coming up later on this year, we may not have to wait so long as until next year’s popular spring racing festival.
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