Paddy Power World Cup rainforest stunt a hoax

9 June 2014

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has revealed that a controversial marketing campaign for the 2014 Fifa World Cup national team football tournament was a hoax.

The bookmaker published a photograph showing part of the Amazonian rainforest being ripped down in order to send the England national team a message of encouragement ahead of this summer’s tournament, which kicks off on Thursday.

A message reading ‘C’mon England PP’ appeared to have been created by chopping down substantial parts of the rainforest.

The images drew criticism on social networks, with many hitting out at the bookmaker for causing damage to the rainforest for the sake of an advertising campaign.

However, it has now emerged that the campaign was in fact a hoax after Paddy Power confirmed it had been created using computer manipulation.

The bookmaker also published a second image of the rainforest that read ‘We didn’t give the Amazon a Brazilian’, referring to a waxing process of removing hair.

The bookmaker said that it is working with environmental group Greenpeace to encourage more people to get involved with a campaign to save the rainforest, with the latest image also featuring a hashtag of #savetherainforest.

Paddy Power said: “We knew we'd drop off a fair few Christmas card lists yesterday, but we couldn't resist a bit of fake Twitter mischief to highlight an important issue to football fans as our World Cup warm-up.”

Earlier this year, Paddy Power drew criticism for an advert that encouraged people to bet on the outcome of a trial in which Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius was accused of murdering his girlfriend.

Related article: ASA says Paddy Power’s Pistorius advert breached rules