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Turning the advertising game on its head!

Monday, 4 February 2008 — by

Advertising is about capturing the attentions of people who are for the most part trying not to notice adverts. So any trick or tactic that practically forces someone to puzzle over their advert has got to be a winning idea…

There we were, Dad & me watching Ireland versus Italy in the 6 Nations Rugby Union championship.

A sport that involves “blood substitutions” — mostly from gaping head wounds, broken noses, split lips and torn ears — shuddering tackles, shattered limbs, dislocated fingers, ferocious, feral power and incomparable brutality and gladiatorial flare.

What’s Rugby? Don’t ask me, ask Kate. She knows more about Rugby than I do, and she’s an American!

Shortly before Italian lock Santiago Dellape was sent to the Sin Bin for punching on 30 minutes, my eyes were drawn to the customary border of rolling banner advert hoardings running down the edge of the pitch.

But something wasn’t quite right.

At first glance, I couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong, but I knew something was wrong. Damn, the cameras keep swapping and the adverts rolled around to the customary Guinness feature.

OK, I’m determined to spot it the second time around. Meanwhile, my dad’s busy cussing at the game play.

Here it comes — “What’s that?!” I exclaim.

I jump out of my seat and run towards the TV, pointing at the advert. The camera moves, the angle changes, the players obscure the words.

Now my dad’s involved. He squints at the screen and sees enough to know something is amiss. He’s as intrigued as I am.

We now know for sure what’s wrong — the wording on the ad’ is upside down.

Initially, I thought it was just the one advert, which would have been highly embarrassing. Had that been the case, as the advertiser, I’d have demanded slots for the next three events. But all of the adverts were the same.

They were all upside down. How bizarre.

Blood, sweat and betting!

Finally, after what seemed like an age, we managed to catch the advert, which was for Paddy Power, an on-line gambling outfit.

And all at once, the cunning of Paddy Power advertising campaign became obvious, filling my face with a broad smile of respectful acknowledgment.

Of all the adverts for that one event, only one caught my eye and kept my attention .. in between watching Ireland barely nudge the Italians out sixteen points to eleven.

A lesson in advertising

The thing to remember here is one of non-comformity and a spirit for good old-fashioned mischievous fun, which qualities clearly in the minds of the advertising agency contracted by Paddy Power.

In the words of an associate of mine James Good, to make an impression, you need to: “demonstrate your difference.”

That maxim should resonate in the minds of all businesswomen & businessmen that fancies their chances of winning the annual race against their competition for the eyes and the ears of their potential customers…

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