The Irish betting firm’s relationships with Powerscourt for UK financial comms and Weber Shandwick for public affairs are both under review following the arrival of Brunswick director Catherine Colloms as its first director of corporate affairs in January.
It is thought the brand has held early-stage discussions with both multidisciplinary and specialist agencies, some of which are exploring pitching for the diverse work as a consortium. However, Colloms said no official brief had yet been issued and all options remained on the table.
‘We are thinking about how we tackle some of the bigger issues affecting both the company and the industry and exploring how we deliver messages across the whole suite of communications,’ she explained.
The review will encompass public affairs, regulatory comms, CSR and corporate comms to transition Paddy Power into a more issues-led comms approach.
It is understood that regulatory issues and governmental comms in particular will play a more fundamental part in the company’s strategy.
The news comes amid a legal row between the company and the Government over the use of gaming machines in betting shops, after Newham Council turned down an application for a new Paddy Power unit on the grounds that it would not be a traditional bookmaker.
The brand is well known for its headline-grabbing PR stunts, but Colloms wants to grow a stronger corporate voice in the UK.
‘The consumer brand is so strong that it can dwarf everything else,’ she said. ‘But as one of the largest online bookmakers in the UK we want the corporate brand to compete with the consumer brand.
‘In Ireland Paddy Power has the premium corporate reputation of a Waitrose or John Lewis, but that has been slightly lost in translation in the UK.’
Agencies that work for other major gambling firms, including William Hill's PR agency Brunswick, are certain to be conflicted out of any pitch process.
Paddy Power is listed in the UK and Ireland. Drury Communications, which handles the company's financial comms in Ireland is unaffected by the review as are the brand's consumer agencies.
Paddy Power timeline
May 2013 Co-founder David Power set to retire from the board after AGM next week.
March 2013 Paddy Power reveals revenues in 2012 rose 31 per cent to €653.8m (£552.2m). Active online customers grew 44 per cent to 1.6 million.
July 2012 LOCOG drops demand for removal of Paddy Power’s London 2012-related ambush stunt after bookmaker launches legal proceedings against it.