Paddy Power

The truth about Paddy Power’s stunt in the Amazon rainforest

The bad news: our latest stunt is not a Photoshop. The good news: it's a far more complex bit of computer wizardry.

by Josh Powell | June 8, 2014

Not a single tree was harmed in the Amazon. Paddy Power admits it was a bit out of left field to raise awareness of deforestation by pretending to chop down the Amazon, but we’ve been twiddling our thumbs since the Premier League ended and had a bit of time on our hands before the World Cup kicked off in Brazil.

Greenpeace told us that in the Amazon an area the size of 122 football pitches is chopped down every 90 minutes, which is shocking. Paddy Power’s #Shavetherainforest stunt helps to haul this issue into the public light, with our own little mischievous twist. Many people thought Paddy had chopped down a load of trees. We can’t trust Paddy to put his pants on in the morning or eat a Sunday roast without getting gravy on his best shirt, God knows what he’d be like operating heavy machinery.

One of the little scamps involved in the stunt 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.  At least it gave people something to get animated about during last night’s England-Honduras bore fest.’

You want the truth about Paddy Power’s amazon stunt? Here’s how the whole thing went down, from the planning, the intensive geek work, the initial leak, the public outrage and the surprise reveal.

For three weeks in a darkened room the tech-savvy nerds did their thing using a magical piece of kit called MODO.

Landscape-shot

Apparently this was a bit more high-brow than a Microsoft Paint job and they had to individually create almost 1.5 million trees

Tree-shot

We got some design hipsters to create, from scratch, a 3-D model of the rainforest 85km outside Manaus. In painstaking detail, we looked at the type of tree, topography, where the light should be at each time of day and even the reflection of the forest in the window of our imaginary helicopter. There was no helicopter.

In fact, we didn’t even set foot in Brazil.

Design-shot

Finally, the job was complete and we were good to go…

Final version

The story got out and it didn’t take long for The Sabotage Times to spread the word

Sabotage-times-shot

Inevitably most people on the Twitter machine lost their minds at the thought of Paddy Power demolishing the Amazon

Tweets-1

Fiona Napier lost all faith in mankind #Sadface

Tweets-2

And Billy Bixby wanted Sarah in HR to start dishing out the P45s

Tweets-3

Some people really went to town, and one even threatened to emigrate…

Tweets-4

The lads in control of @paddypower couldn’t help but fuel the fire. What a bunch of rascals

Paddy-tweets

This only caused more outrage as the Twitter machine exploded and a bloody hobbit got involved!

Hobbit-tweet

Then to cap it all off, the online press stuck the boot in.

Online-press

Before finally, we came clean. Happy that we’d spiced up the weekend with a little bit of mischief, and managed to raise awareness of a very serious issue at the same time.

The-reveal

If, like Tom Cleverley, you have plenty of time on your hands this week before the World Cup kicks off you can show the Amazon a bit of love by heading over this way and joining Greenpeace’s movement to protect the rainforest.

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Your comments and views

47 Comments

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  1. Anonymous said on June 8, 2014 @ 12:45 pm

    Credit to who made the image.its awesome!

  2. Ellie whitcombe said on June 8, 2014 @ 12:46 pm

    “Didn’t give the rainforest a Brazillian”-genious!

  3. Dave Byrne said on June 8, 2014 @ 12:56 pm

    Good lad Paddy, nice jesture!

  4. Colin West said on June 8, 2014 @ 1:11 pm

    Brilliant, top way to get a bit of notice on the subject. Paddy Power, PR genius.

  5. Seeking Aletheia said on June 8, 2014 @ 1:25 pm

    Well they say all publicity is good publicity and your certainly had the PR machine whirling. Impressive stunt. Glad it’s a fake.

  6. Tom said on June 8, 2014 @ 1:31 pm

    Well you guys have a history of bone-headed, bad-taste PR stunts so you’ll forgive us if this seemed plausible.

  7. Dino said on June 8, 2014 @ 1:38 pm

    Who the heck finds any of these funny?

    This is damage control

    PaddyPlumbers F****UP and they know it.

  8. Jean Breeze said on June 8, 2014 @ 1:49 pm

    I love Paddy Power’s sense of humour and didn’t think for one moment that they had carved out a message in the RainForest. It does, however, highlight a very important issue. We can not afford to lose the RainForests. I have visited a very small part of the Amazon rainforest in Peru. It is beautiful, magnificent, breathtaking and so very important for the entire planet. We can not afford to lose the fauna and flora, many of which are still being discovered. The environmental impact of deforestation is immense. The loss of the diverse animal population can not be allowed and we can not lose the number of plant species that are their many of which have led to the development of new medications. Well done to Paddy Power for highlighting the deforestation issue even if some people misunderstand.

  9. Ann Onymouse said on June 8, 2014 @ 3:03 pm

    If all of the people who complained stood very very close to each other. they might just a bout have one working synapse!

  10. james said on June 8, 2014 @ 3:06 pm

    absolutely brilliant, especially the final photo. well played boys over at paddy power.

  11. Tom Bullock said on June 8, 2014 @ 3:34 pm

    well played, PaddyPower. Well played indeed.

  12. aditya menon said on June 8, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

    Haha, good one there guys.

  13. JonathanR said on June 8, 2014 @ 4:07 pm

    Paddy Power marketing genius yet again! It makes you laugh..the deranged thinking of some of these eco warriors , who threaten to kill a human being for the potential death of a tree. #mistaken values.

  14. Anonymous said on June 8, 2014 @ 4:07 pm

    For people to think you would actually do such a thing is amusing in itself.

    Your reputation proceeds you, Mr. Patrick Power.

  15. John said on June 8, 2014 @ 4:11 pm

    I really can’t believe people were this stupid. Twitter is an echo chamber for morons to exercise their use of the family brain cell.

  16. Anonymous said on June 8, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

    You smart bastards.

  17. Anonymous said on June 8, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

    PP wins.

  18. Tom said on June 8, 2014 @ 4:36 pm

    I hope as many people who read the original story end up reading the truth. It would be a damn shame for you guys to lose people’s sympathies over such a great idea to raise awareness!

  19. Thomas Jackson said on June 8, 2014 @ 5:16 pm

    It’s a good point. Everyone can shout and scream over the internet, but how many of those people regularly use products from companies that irresponsibly cut down down trees? How many of those people waste packaging or don’t recycle? How many of those people actually stand up and do something other than try and fit in with the actual green lovers?

  20. Steve Brown said on June 8, 2014 @ 5:17 pm

    Find it hard to believe that there could be that many people out there stupid enough to believe the pictures were real in the first place! God help mankind (and the rainforest).

  21. bruce said on June 8, 2014 @ 5:23 pm

    we’re a cancer. no better than locusts. sooner we’re off the planet the better

  22. McKenna said on June 8, 2014 @ 6:13 pm

    So in the end raise a HUGE amount of publicity for the state of the amazon, and increase awareness, while providing links to charity out of your own advertising budget. Think so apologies are in order :P Good job Paddy.

  23. Tom said on June 8, 2014 @ 7:20 pm

    Just brilliant.

  24. Andy Tinsley said on June 8, 2014 @ 7:53 pm

    The more I read, the funnier it got. That is all.

  25. Alexandra said on June 8, 2014 @ 8:01 pm

    Nice job, dipshits.

  26. Elisia said on June 8, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

    I felt this was quite obvious from the start… But I still found it fun to watch explode. I love the second image you guys did with the statistics on deforestation. I feel that the only way your prank could’ve been better was if you had shown a side-by-side comparison of the area that would be chopped in 90 minutes next to the photo-shopped pic. Would really make slacktivists feel guilty.

  27. Dale said on June 8, 2014 @ 10:01 pm

    I fucking love PaddyPower’s marketing & social media team

  28. Brincadeira da Paddy Power vira polêmica nas redes sociais | Jornal Montes Claros said on June 9, 2014 @ 1:30 am

    […] No entanto, tudo não passou de uma brincadeira da empresa visando à conscientização quando ao elevado índice de desmatamento registrado na floresta. Neste domingo, 8 de junho, a empresa esclareceu através do seu site oficial como as fotos foram criadas em um programa de edição de imagens. Você pode ler o artigo publicado em inglês, clicando aqui. […]

  29. Llama118 said on June 9, 2014 @ 4:38 am

    Haha, brilliant! Sticking it to people who ignore deforestation AND people who believe everything they read on the internet

  30. Lovell D'souza said on June 9, 2014 @ 7:50 am

    Thank you for making this blog post. I was fedup of the morons going nuts over this all over the interwebs.

  31. Paul Mallon said on June 9, 2014 @ 11:25 am

    Cheers, Alexandra

  32. Jim said on June 9, 2014 @ 12:14 pm

    Problem is most people won’t read this post.

    Great work with the computer etc. however most people will just see the advert and therefore a negative outcome. If you are going for any PR is good PR then this will work. But I wonder how you can test the outcome of an ad like this before publishing it.

  33. Paul Mallon said on June 9, 2014 @ 12:34 pm

    Quite a few people have read the post Jim, and we’re doing our best to draw attention to it via Twitter and the mainstream press. It’s true that ‘most people’ will never see it.
    But we hope that many people who saw the original hoax ad will be aware of the outcome.

  34. Paul Mallon said on June 9, 2014 @ 12:34 pm

    Quite a few people have read the post Jim, and we’re doing our best to draw attention to it via Twitter and the mainstream press. It’s true that ‘most people’ will never see it.
    But we hope that many people who saw the original hoax ad will be aware of the outcome.

  35. Neliah said on June 9, 2014 @ 12:59 pm

    You guys are the ultimate trolls. Well done. Great way to bring awareness.

  36. johno said on June 9, 2014 @ 3:45 pm

    i bet most of the people slagging paddy off for chopping down the rain forest have a piece of hardwood furniture in their house

  37. RockFox said on June 9, 2014 @ 4:44 pm

    Not entirely sure how this ‘PR Stunt’ genuinely raises awareness or contributes to the bigger picture in some way? Telling us the amount chopped down, then encouraging us to log on and ‘show the trees some love’ – er how? By placing a bet on the footie?? Why not start a campaign donating money from every bet? or signposting people to an awareness site or charity to get involved in? Vacuous excuse.

  38. Paul Mallon said on June 9, 2014 @ 4:53 pm

    We are linking to Greenpeace by signposting in two spots in this article. ‘Save the Rainforest’ was trending on Twitter in the UK on Sunday due to this promotion.
    You are absolutely entitled to your criticism of this stunt, but we disagree that it has not raised awareness.

  39. Anonymous said on June 9, 2014 @ 9:45 pm

    Correction, Merry shouldn’t have left the shire. Pippin was played by Billy Boyd.

  40. Anonymous said on June 9, 2014 @ 11:53 pm

    Since I’d already read this was fake, the main thing that annoyed me in this was him calling Dominic Monaghan Pippin.

  41. John said on June 10, 2014 @ 1:48 am

    Highlighted a couple of points….deforestation and the number of brain dead idiots that believe everything they read/see on the internet.

  42. Paul Mallon said on June 10, 2014 @ 8:20 am

    Our social media boss was trying to really piss him off

  43. Paddy Power’s Perfect World Cup Marketing Prank - Forfront Blog said on June 11, 2014 @ 3:52 pm

    […] only that, but the full details of their hoax are written in a brilliantly funny and entertaining way. They’re self-congratulatory, without […]

  44. Clearbox Weekly Friday 13th June | Clearbox Communications said on June 13, 2014 @ 4:24 pm

    […] lots of outrage on social media and accusations of a ‘stunt gone too far’, the bookie released this information to raise awareness of deforestation. Well played, as always, […]

  45. Preacta Recruitment said on June 16, 2014 @ 12:20 am

    […] for England chopped out of the Amazon rainforest. After receiving immediate backlash, Paddy Power admitted it was all just an elaborate fake, posting a follow-up image with a link to Greenpeace’s sign-up campaign to protect rainforest […]

  46. CrowdWorthy » Crazy Fan Allegedly Gets Tattoo Of Luis Suárez With Hannibal Lecter Mask On (Photo) said on June 30, 2014 @ 3:30 am

    […] the tournament, and in June it attracted the ire of the Internet after convincing people it had cleared a section of the Amazon rain forest to offer support for the English […]

  47. Does the 2014 World Cup Score in Sustainability? | Sustainable.co.za Blog said on July 4, 2014 @ 11:42 am

    […] Power took it upon themselves to generate awareness. They cleverly did this with a mischievous Amazon rainforest stunt. They posted a photo which made it seem as if they had cut down trees in the rainforest to cheer on […]

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