How Ladbrokes Lost the Public’s Bake Off Love
IN 2015 LADBROKES prescribed to the theory ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’ by blowing the lid off their own ignorance and stupidity. It was a move that had many rival bookmakers laughing until the pee ran down their ankles but some PR man somewhere within the organisation clearly thought whinging like a baby which needed both a nappy change and a fresh bottle was a good idea.
The calamity revolved around The Great British Bake Off which was then broadcast on the BBC and attracted over 12.5 million viewers per-episode. However, unlike many talent shows, such as Dancing on Ice and Strictly Come Dancing, this TV show does not have its final broadcast live. So the nail-biting Bake Off decider had been pre-recorded, it had been in the proverbial ‘can’ for weeks and months and the show’s producers, directors, cameramen, set builders, the fabled ‘grips’ man, not to mention the contestants, knew the result and had all moved on to new projects.
Nevertheless, despite the race being over, Ladbrokes made their first mistake in offering a betting market on this pre-recorded cooking contest. Their second mistake was running off to the national media stating they were “considering stopping taking bets on pre-recorded shows” following “concerns about insider betting” when they looked at their Great British Bake Off liabilities.
In timing their PR stunt to what they believed to be perfection, on the eve of the final show being broadcast a Ladbrokes spokesman then announced his firm had accepted 529 Great British Bake Off bets from “suspicious accounts” with a potential payout of £10,000.
To further alienate themselves from a public, who was now cheering on the big gamble, another mistake was then made. It involved the high street and online bookmaker declaring they had launched an investigation into dozens of new gambling accounts created “with links to BBC staff and members of the Great British Bake Off production company, Love Productions.”
If there is one thing punters expect from their online bookmaker it is anonymity and the thought of their personal employment details being scrutinised for potential links to any company, club, trainer, sportsman or contestant which may or may not be privy conceived ‘inside information’ is as foul-tasting as a burnt soufflé.
Whipping up a quick something
Ladbrokes are not offering prices on the outcome of the 2019 Great British Bake Off which starts on Tuesday August 27th on Channel 4. There will be no miserable PR coups this year. Some firms did issue prices during the initial press launch for the tenth edition of the show, but the ability to place a wager was limited.
Some may yet offer betting on the competition, bobbing their head out of the parapet in the immediate aftermath of each episode. Betway is a likely candidate. In their early betting they made Emily, a 28-year-old geography teacher from Essex, their 11/2 market leader amongst a field of 13 candidates.