Case Study: Paddy Power uses Russia's football team to spread message of love equality

A campaign to highlight Russian attitudes towards the country's LGBT+ community made 'accidental allies' of the Russian football team as they hosted the 2018 World Cup.

Case Study: Paddy Power uses Russia's football team to spread message of love equality

Bookmaker Paddy Power wanted to call out the country’s record on LGBT+ rights, and put their money where their mouth is in doing so.

The campaign, by Engine Sport, saw the bookmaker donate £10,000 to the Attitude Foundation, a charity committed to improving the lives of LGBT+ individuals around the world, every time the Russian team scored.

In a country that last year passed an ‘anti-LGBT propaganda law’ the irony was not lost on the media as it generated more than 75 items of news coverage, reaching an audience of 450 million.

Influencers delivered 1.4m views, at a cost of 4p per view, and across social media the campaign generated 84m impressions and 12,000 organic tweets.

As the Russian team racked up the goals, £170,000 was made in donations to LGBT+ causes. The campaign helped deliver a lasting impact for the LGBT+ community and build a feeling of goodwill towards the Paddy Power brand.

Engine Sport managing director Lisa Parfitt said: "Time and time again sport proves itself to be cultural phenomenon which captures the hearts and minds of people in so many ways. Paddy Power is synonymous with mischief, but we wanted the campaign to have a lasting impact."

"Our belief in sport as the most powerful cultural connector remains constant and the FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer will be no different."

Lee Price, head of PR, Paddy Power said the money raised for LGBT+ causes was almost three times more than they had predicted.

"But it was worth it for the impact of the campaign, which lit up social channels – including Paddy Power trolling the small proportion of our own followers who mirrored Putin’s attitude to gay rights." he added.

"Last summer, there was plenty to criticise Russia for, but most people seemed to be ignoring the rainbow-coloured elephant in the room.

"Nobody at PP thinks we solved homophobia – we’re not FIFA, guys, come on – there’s still an awful long way to go. But hopefully we did at least start some pub conversations which mightn’t have otherwise happened – and definitely funded some excellent schemes to encourage LGBT+ inclusion in football."

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