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Paddy Power in “Save Our Shirts” Campaign

by Glenn Baird - July 23, 2019

This week saw UK betting firm, Paddy Power launch their “Save Our Shirts” campaign, a stunt that has seen the company to remove their logo from the football shirts of Huddersfield FC, Motherwell FC and Newport County.

Up until this week Paddy Power were a rare thing in the UK Sports Betting landscape, in that they did not have sponsorship ties with any professional football clubs. This meant that the launch of their deal with Huddersfield FC was big news, but as it turns out for more than one reason.

Last week, users of specific social media accounts witnessed the first stage of this advertising campaign when Huddersfield FC released pictures of what they claimed at the time was their new football kit. The images caused controversy as a large and somewhat undignified Paddy Power sash took up more space on the shirt than is customary.

A few days later Paddy Power revealed that they had been pulling our legs the whole time, unfurling what they confirmed is the real Huddersfield strip, free from any advertising at all. The betting giants went one step further and did the same with the new Motherwell FC kit, stripping it of any Paddy Power sponsorship.

Just this morning Paddy Power also revealed that they would be removing their logo from the new Newport County strip, making it three out of three for the “Save Our Shirts” campaign.

The publicity stunt comes hot on the heels of fresh criticism levelled at the relationship between Premier League football and betting firms, which sees half of the clubs in this year’s competition sponsored by gambling companies.

It will be interesting to see what Paddy Power choose to do next. This round of publicity has gained the company attention for all the right reasons, as they are doing something to tackle what many feel is becoming a growing problem in the UK. It will be very interesting to see how Paddy Power continue this as they claim to be working closely with their new business partners to tackle the issue of problem gambling.

In a somewhat informal interview with Market Week, Paddy Power’s head of PR, Lee Price revealed the company’s thinking behind the campaign:

“Every bookmaker, apart from Paddy Power it seemed, sponsors a football team and they’ll just lazily put their brand on there. Our tagline is ‘Enough of the Nonsense’ and we’re calling bullshit on football sponsorship generally, but the rest of the industry too. It wouldn’t be Paddy Power just to stick our logo on there.”

Price then goes on the justify the campaign, claiming that it is more than just some cheap publicity stunt:

“We wanted to say ‘You know what? We’re not this caricature you all think we are. We’re a football brand at heart’. That’s what’s really important to us,”

“The Save Our Shirt campaign, which is going to go on and on, is really important to us because we think it’s a genuine issue and we wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t a true insight. We’re about more than just a quick Twitter storm and that will play out in the coming days and weeks.”

Some might argue that Paddy Power are making the most of the current situation. That they are still profiting from a sponsorship deal, it just happens to be one where they have to change the rules surrounding that sponsorship.

Price finished his interview with the following statement:

“I don’t want to give anything away, but it will become apparent in the early weeks of the season that we want to work with the club and the fans to celebrate this unique, ground-breaking thing we’re doing.”

For the those who question Paddy Power’s motives, the course of this and next season will hopefully provide all the answers.