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Paddy Power cancels Euro 2024 ad featuring Boris Johnson after staff backlash

Concerns were raised about promoting a figure as divisive as Johnson.

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Paddy Power has scrapped its Euro 2024 advertising campaign featuring Boris Johnson following backlash from its staff.

The former Prime Minister – who spearheaded the Brexit campaign in 2016 – was set to wear an England jersey and declare: “I told you I would get us back in Europe,” as part of the promotion.

Despite the campaign’s approval and Johnson’s participation, employees at the Dublin-based betting firm expressed discomfort with the idea.

Concerns were raised about promoting a figure as divisive as Johnson and using language that humorously referenced Brexit – this therefore prompted staff members in the UK to voice their objections.

Flutter Entertainment, Paddy Power’s parent company, confirmed that while they had been in discussions with Johnson’s team for a potential cameo in the advert, his role in the Euro 2024 campaign would not proceed.

A spokesperson for the company stated: “We have been speaking to Boris Johnson’s team about a number of opportunities, one of which was an idea for a cameo role in a TV advert,” adding that they remain hopeful for future collaborations.

This decision marks the latest in a series of controversial advertising stunts by Paddy Power. Previous campaigns have sparked backlash, such as an advert featuring a blind soccer player appearing to kick a cat and a social media video containing homophobic remarks.

Additionally, Paddy Power launched an ad campaign back in 2022 that mocked Boris Johnson.

The campaign saw Paddy Power utilising its advertising vehicles to poke fun at Johnson, with a series of trucks displaying digital messages as the fleet drove around the capital.

The messages on the side of these advertising trucks read: "Goodbye Boris," "It’s Hard To Keep Up" and "Hello Boris?"

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