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A stunt too far?

A stunt too far?

02 March 2015 | Liz Bowen

If there’s one thing you can commend Paddy Power on, it’s knowing how to get its name in the media with its often controversial campaigns.

Usually though, as it’s been pointed out, these campaigns also have something of the tongue-in-cheek about them and usually raise a few smiles – even a giggle or two – throughout the office.

But has Paddy Power’s latest campaign overstepped the mark even for them?

To put it into context before we begin, the campaign follows on from the shocking incident in Paris several weeks ago where a black man was consistently prevented from boarding the Metro by a small group of Chelsea fans, who were then heard to allegedly chant “we’re racist and that’s the way we like it”.

So, yesterday, prior to Chelsea’s Capital One Cup Final against Spurs, the betting company set up a stand outside Wembley stadium and tweeted a request for Chelsea fans to pose under a banner, which read “Prove You’re Not Prejudiced”. Alongside a Sikh, a Muslim woman in a burka, a black man and a woman in a wheelchair.

One of the main problems with this stunt (and there are many) is its stark contrast to the reactions of the football community and Chelsea Football Club in particular. Both the club and manager Jose Mourinho condemned the actions of those involved in the Paris incident, banned them for life and agreed to help police with their investigations. There was no room for error; action was as swift and as ruthless as everyone hoped and prayed it would be.

Then of the course there’s the matter of stereotyping … I don’t think anyone who watched the video or read about the incident suddenly thought that it means every Chelsea fan is racist and they shouldn’t have to stand under a sign to prove it. Surely this prejudiced stunt against Chelsea fans is rather contradictory then?

Whatever your thoughts, Paddy Power once again dominated social media and garnered headlines with the stunt. Given the vociferous reaction to it, for many, it seems perhaps that this was a stunt too far. But, honestly, do Paddy Power really care? It’s never stopped them before after all.