Irish betting giant Paddy Power is taking the organisers of the 2012 Olympic Games to court in a bid to prevent its latest billboard campaign across London being taken down.
The campaign, which also appeared in London newspapers City AM, Metro and the Evening Standard from Monday, declared the bookmaker the “Official sponsor of the largest athletics event in London this year!”, before going on to reveal it was actually referring to the town of London in France, the venue for its inaugural egg-and-spoon race taking place on 1 August.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), responsible for protecting the branding rights of its sponsors as well as enforcing strict International Olympic Committee rules over linking betting activity to the Games, then instructed billboard site owner JCDecaux to remove the posters from around the capital.
Paddy Power however revealed today that it has instructed London law firm Charles Russell to seek a court order on the grounds that its latest controversial campaign does not break LOCOG rules on advertising and branding around the London 2012 Games.
A spokesperson from Paddy Power said LOCOG had “got its priorities upside down”, adding that “it’s a pity that they didn’t put the same energy into the ticketing and security arrangements for the Games that they put into protecting their sponsorship revenue streams.”
The Irish bookmaker’s latest ambush market stunt comes just a month after it landed Denmark striker Nicolas Bendtner with a hefty €100k fine and a one-match ban for exposing a pair of its “lucky pants” during his Euro 2012 goal celebrations against Portugal last month, breaking UEFA rules governing advertising on players’ equipment. The bookmaker agreed to pick up the fine on behalf of the player.
Last week Paddy Power also withdrew 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.