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Coral Cheltenham offer may have just turned in to a PR nightmare

It seemed a ludicrous offer to begin with. The incredible Sprinter Sacre in the 15:20 at Cheltenham was huge favourite, with most other bookmakers offering odds as short as 1/4.

Coral had a better idea however.

Why not offer even odds on the huge favourite, with a maximum bet of £20. You don’t even need to be a horse racing genius to know that this is as close an offer to ‘guaranteed’ money that any bookmaker will ever give any punter. An easy £20 profit, basically giving money away. Or were they?

Coral-Betting-BonusClearly, the offer gained huge coverage on Twitter with numerous ‘tipsters’ providing links to the offer and Coral themselves making it well-known to anybody who’d listen. After the race Coral admitted it had hit themfor over a million quid. Or had it?

The following race, the 16:00 CORAL cup had no ‘dead cert’ as Sacre and surely they had hoped many punters would lump some if not all their winnings on this, and they would clearly still be in the black.

This is where the nightmare began however!

This plan seemed perfect. Gain some great exposure with the Sacre stunt, costing £1million, but actually win the money back on their own sponsored race, but keep that one quiet. However, due to the sheer volume of traffic to the website to collect winnings, the only thing Coral succeeded in was crashing the site, leaving punters unable to login, and subsequently leaving them unable to bet on any of the remaining races, including Coral’s own at 16:00.

What should have been a clever ploy has turned in to a PR nightmare! Punters are taking to Twitter to vent their frustration, and a simple search of coral brings up hundreds on angry customers.

I think Coral knew they would have lost on the Sacre offer, but I don’t think they envisaged a loss of customer satisfaction due to technology problems. A nightmare situation for the bookmaker! This sends a noteworthy message when attempting PR stunts… Make sure you have the resources in place to undertake it properly, as what could have been a great success for the bookie has well and truly turned in to a nightmare!

Matt Galloway

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Matt Galloway is a student at Loughborough University. He aspires for a career in PR & Marketing, and is currently making his first steps in to the field. Matt is originally from Northampton, but based currently in Loughborough during term time. Once he has completed university one of Matt's goals is to move and work in London.

Follow @mattagalloway