With live sport cancelled and major tournaments postponed, it would have been tempting for Paddy Power to batten down the hatches at the onset of Covid-19 and rein in its trademark mischief for a couple of months.
Playing it safe, however, is definitely not Paddy Power’s style. The bookie moved at speed, positioning itself as an entertainment brand bringing light relief and much-needed distraction to the early days of lockdown. The betting brand threw itself full throttle into content, from the release of scripted comedy series The Mascot to content celebrating the wonder of Zoom calls.
The world may have been thrown into confusion, but the brand’s mischievous tone had backing from the top, explains Lee Price. The man behind Paddy Power’s mischief mentality for the past five years, Price is leaving his role as head of PR and mischief to become director of campaigns and storytelling at US sustainable trainer brand Allbirds.
Moving to San Francisco for the role, Price is hoping to take what he has learnt about the power of humour in the ferociously competitive gambling sector and apply it to help change attitudes about sustainability and climate change.
Thinking back to the start of lockdown, he recalls how the brand chose to make its mischief less provocative and more engaging, entertaining, distracting.