Paddy Power has been forced to withdraw an augmented reality app that brought the Queen’s face to life on £10 notes after the Bank of England claimed it breached the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act.
Launched to coincide with last month’s Euro 2012 football tournament, the app used Blippar technology to bring the Queen to life when it was opened and scanned across a £10 note, with animated cartoons of Her Majesty and the Royal Family then voicing their opinions on football matches.
However, the bookmaker has now withdrawn the free iPhone and Android smartphone app under pressure from the Bank of England, because it had not applied for permission to use the images of the Queen on the banknote, placing it in breach of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981.
Section 18 of the Act makes it a criminal offence to reproduce any Bank of England note or part of a Bank of England banknote without receiving written prior consent.
A Paddy Power spokesman said it was “not sure” if it had indeed broken the law, but confirmed it had complied with the Bank’s demands: “[G]iven the absence of decent footie this month we’ll happily retire The Queen from punditry duties, for now.”
The bookmaker managed to persuade heavyweight boxer Dereck Chisora to wear a pair of its “lucky pants” at the weigh-in for Saturday’s grudge match with David Haye, but they failed to bring much luck to Chisora, who was stopped in the fifth round of the contest.
The betting and gaming giant last month agreed to foot the €100k fine dished out to UEFA by Denmark striker Nicolas Bendtner for exposing the “lucky pants” during his Euro 2012 goal celebrations against Portugal last month, breaking UEFA rules governing advertising on players’ equipment.
Paddy Power’s Chav Tranquiliser and Transgendered Ladies viral ads for this year’s Cheltenham festival, developed with creative agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky, also generated more free PR for the operator after they were banned by UK regulator the Advertising Standards Authority. Its 2010 Blind Football ad, developed with agency Creative Al’s, since poached back by Betfair, gained the dubious accolade of being the ASA’s most complained about ad.
The Irish bookmaker recently appointed former head of PR Ken Robertson to “head of mischief” to orchestrate more stunts, for which it circulated a brief to creative agencies in May requesting more ideas.