The controversial Irish betting firm Paddy Power has released a video of Rugby World Cup tipster, the "American Dentist," a parody of Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who gained global notoriety in July after he shot Zimbabwe's Cecil the Lion.
In a YouTube video published Monday, an actor in a white coat with a machine gun and well-whitened teeth turns to camera and says: "Hi, I'm an American dentist."
He then pretends to shoot various animals and introduces himself as The Big Game Hunter, who will give tips ahead of Rugby World Cup matches — a separate video also published today shows him giving an irreverent and animal-pun laden preview of next weekend's England versus Wales.
Dublin-based Paddy Power has never been shy of controversial campaigns and stunts — although a recent ad directing an expletive towards FIFA president Sepp Blatter was judged not to have broken any rules, it has faced criticism over an abandoned stunt involving a lorry with the image of disgraced former TV personality Rolf Harris. The firm will keep its own brand identity if a proposed merger with competitor Betfair goes ahead.
A Paddy Power press release on "The Big Game Hunter" says: "As Japan’s shock victory over South Africa showed, picking winners can be tougher than Rhino skin, but thankfully Paddy’s trigger happy orthodontist is here to help. With his trusty high-velocity rifle trained on some of the biggest games of the tournament, the Big Game Hunter will fire-up delight for some fans while shooting down the chances of others."
Paddy Power said: "The Big Game Hunter seems to know what he’s doing and after all the injuries I’d give Wales as much chance of beating the English as Cecil starring in the Lion King."
A mock disclaimer posted below the video on the Paddy Power website says: "Please note: no animals were harmed in the making of these videos. Unlike several promising careers in the Paddy Power marketing department. Only joking – there are no promising careers in the Paddy Power marketing department."
This article first appeared on prweek.com.