LONDON — Paddy Power is an Irish wagering site that offers odds on every London Olympic event, as well as whether the Olympic Village will run out of condoms during the games — it's 6-to-1 that they will, by the way.
To make its presence known in a crowded market for Olympic betting, Paddy Power created a humorous ad campaign that appeared in London train stations and newspapers. It tweaked the draconian efforts of Olympic organizers to protect the exclusivity of their official partners — and the IOC's refusal to allow gambling companies to advertise on the Games.
Funny, right? Funnier still when you realize the event they're referencing is an egg and spoon race to be held in London, France.
The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games was not amused, asking that the advertising company edit or take down the billboards, and telling the Guardian:
"We can take a joke, but as you would expect we had to draw the line at the provocative references to Locog. We also have a responsibility to ensure that no one thinks betting companies have any sort of official connection to London 2012."
So Paddy Power did what any staunch defender of cheeky humor and sneaky capitalism would do: They go lawyer'd up.
The site reached out to the powerful Charles Russell firm to fight the LOCOG crackdown.
"In what must be deemed a gold-medal-winning u-turn, London 2012 organisers, Locog, have reversed their position ... which demanded the removal of Paddy Power's latest advertising campaign from poster sites around the Olympic city.
"Coincidentally [the] change of heart by Locog, which was communicated by their law firm, Freshfields, was taken just moments before Paddy Power's law firm, Charles Russell, were set to enter the High Court in London seeking a court order against the Olympic organisers."
Score one for ridiculously clever ideas. Score one for publicity stunts that cut through the Olympic hype. And, of course, score one for the egg-and-spoonies of London, France.
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