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SBD Global/January 13, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

Paddy Power's North Korea Basketball Sponsorship With Dennis Rodman Questioned

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power "has a reputation for risque marketing and its helped make the brand famous," according to Chris Arnold of MARKETING MAGAZINE. However, the problem with having a brave culture and few boundaries "is the risk of things going horribly wrong and a backlash of bad PR." Newspaper websites "may love to feature your maverick stunts to entertain." Their latest idea, "billed as 'basketball diplomacy, hoops not nukes' pushed things too far and created a negative reaction." Who on earth at Paddy Power "thought it was a good PR move to sponsor Rodman's visit to North Korea." Or "to think it was some form of CSR?" Rodman "brags about being a friend of Kim Jong-Un, who recently executed his uncle Jang Song Thaek and has a dubious human rights record having imprisoned and murdered thousands of his own citizens." It is "not a relationship that any brand should be comfortable with, and to see it as marketing opportunity for the sake of generating controversy is a little naive, if not stupid." For Paddy Power to see itself as some kind of diplomatic peace maker, in a complex political world, "shows the brand is living in a world of its own making rather than the real world" (MARKETING MAGAZINE, 1/9).
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