Bookmakers are known for their rather unusual promotional stunts, but one took it to a whole new level when it floated a 151-foot, Brazilian-themed hot air balloon above the city of Melbourne.
The Christ the Redeemer balloon was sporting its very own Australian World Cup shirt emblazoned with the phrase “#KeepTheFaith”, which caused outrage to many who saw the stunt, including a number of prominent business people and politicians in the area.
Some locals commented that the balloon was not only disrespectful to the Christian religion, but it was also pretty insensitive.
This stunt comes on the back of another ill-thought out promotion by Paddy Power, which appeared to have carved “C’mon England PP” into a part of the Amazon rainforest. This resulted in backlash from environmentalists until it was revealed that the stunt was simply a result of Photoshop.
Speaking about the sky-based stunt, Reverend Costello, who chairs the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, commented:
“One of the great statues in Rio is Jesus, and Brazil is a Catholic nation that takes its faith seriously and its football fanatically. You don’t exploit those things that are sacred to people simply for your own advertising reach and I think that soccer as a world game should be sensitive to that and certainly express their disdain for these types of advertisements.”
This is not the first time an unusual balloon has been spotted in the skies: hot air balloon flights from Taunton to Tokyo have been shaped like everything from Ronald McDonald to a winged cow.