How many sheep does it take to win a World Cup?

Could this World Cup campaign be any more Welsh? PR, social, OOH and TV – and sheep – work together to gain support for England’s opponents.

Paddy Power’s latest work sees the Irish bookie team up with two Welsh World Cup legends and 1,200 sheep to form an integrated campaign spanning PR, social, retail, OOH and TV. 

The 104m-wide “SHEEP > LIONS” formation pokes fun at the England team, while Paddy Power throws its weight behind its Celtic cousins to help bump up the number of supporters ahead of their clash against England tonight.

Led by PR agency Ready10, the media launch took place with TV ads set to run across ITV’s World Cup programming on the day of the England vs Wales match.

The arresting “SHEEP > LIONS” message was unveiled by former internationals Cliff Jones (87 years old) and Terry Medwin (90 years old) – the two surviving members of the last Wales football team to reach the World Cup 64 years ago in 1958.

“This project has been a huge undertaking and a massive production that has gone far beyond a typical earned content campaign,” said David Fraser, Founder and MD of Ready10.  

“We’ve been involved in everything across the board from formulating strategy to scripting to calculating sheep density – yep, that’s really a thing. We’ve also had to contend with a predominantly English team willing on the Red Dragons, although I’ve Welsh relatives so I feel I can get away with it. I don’t know what excuse the others are using.”

“Herding 1,200 sheep into formation is no easy task”

Michelle Spillane, Marketing and Brand Director UKI for Paddy Power, said: “As an Irish brand, we know all about being underdogs at a World Cup, but unlike Ireland, Wales actually qualified for this tournament. So, to throw our weight behind our Celtic cousins against the English, we set out to send a message of support like no other.” 

The stunt required a 50-strong crew including farmers, a fencing installation team and a production company equipped with two heavy-duty drones. Paddy Power’s brand, PR and social media teams were also all present on site to deliver the campaign across multiple channels for the business.

Spillane continued: “Herding 1,200 sheep into formation is no easy task. To make the wellies bill we racked up worth it, our objective was to make sure we got full value out of our agricultural endeavours, bagging content that would work hard for us in a well thought out way through the line. We want to make sure this one lingers in the minds of our audience, much like the whiff of sheep dung has around our offices.”  

The campaign outputs include a dedicated TVC which will run on ITV on the day of the England vs Wales game, a hero long-form cut for Paddy Power’s social channels, timelapse video content running across owned channels, PR and digital out of home assets, as well as a behind-the-scenes look of how the stunt was delivered. 

The 1,248 square metre sign contains up to 160 sheep per letter. For those struggling, that’s about the same size as the average World Cup football pitch wide and just shy of three double decker buses high.