Paddy Power advertising chief to leave firm to set up creative business

Ken Robertson described by Irish bookmaker as a ‘key part of its brand magic’

Ken Robertson of Paddy Power:  his favourite marketing campaign related to the Oscar Pistorius trial in South Africa, which has become the most complained about ad in the UK and was pulled by the company. Photograph: Norton Associates Dublin

Ken Robertson of Paddy Power: his favourite marketing campaign related to the Oscar Pistorius trial in South Africa, which has become the most complained about ad in the UK and was pulled by the company. Photograph: Norton Associates Dublin

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Paddy Power Betfair’s advertising director, Ken Robertson, is to leave the bookmaker later this year to set up his own creative business.

Mr Robertson has been with Paddy Power for the past 18 years and told The Irish Times that he plans to set up a creative advertising business targeting social media.

“I will be taking a lot of my learnings from Paddy Power and looking to put them into practice,” he said. “The intention is to produce high-quality creative advertising at quite a low cost.”

Mr Robertson will remain at Paddy Power for another six months. He was the first marketing professional recruited by the Irish bookmaker, having been hired by Paddy Power co-founder and then chief executive Stewart Kenny.

His time with the company has involved a number of roles, including as head of communications, head of “mischief”, and head of branding at Sportsbet, Paddy Power’s Australian subsidiary.

Sorely missed

In a note to staff on Thursday announcing Mr Robertson’s departure, Paddy Power described him as a “key part of the [company’s] brand magic”.

“Ken is a unique person and filling the void that he leaves will take a special talent, so I’m delighted that he will be around for quite some time to come,” staff were told.

“He will be sorely missed and closer to the time, we will take the opportunity to celebrate a quite brilliant career.”

Mr Robertson said his favourite marketing campaign related to the Oscar Pistorius trial in South Africa, which has become the most complained about ad in the UK and was pulled by the company.

Paddy Power offered “money back if he walks” on the trial of Pistorius over his shooting dead of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. This resulted in a record 5,525 complaints being received by the UK’s advertising watchdog. “I’m most proud of that for a variety of reasons,” he said.

Another favourite was Danish footballer Nicklas Bendtner showing off his Paddy Power underpants during a match at Euro 2012, which led to him being fined.

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