The appearance this morning in Melbourne of a hot-air balloon resembling the statue of Christ the Redeemer from Rio de Janeiro, bearing the advertorial legend of Sportsbet, has been criticised for causing offence to the religious faithful.
Released as a marketing stunt to promote the betting company’s activities in advance of the upcoming World Cup games in Brazil, the appearance of the balloon has drawn comment from across the media and online.
Quoted by the Herald Sun earlier as part of an article that continues to be updated, Synod Moderator Dan Wootton stated:
Sportsbet has clearly decided that adopting a marketing strategy designed to offend the Christian community will gain them lots of free publicity in the media to boost their profits. It is clear profits are all they care about and they have no respect for anything else. It is well beyond time that marketing by sports wagering companies was banned outright. The unethical and offensive marketing strategies of these companies should mean they should lose the ability to market their businesses. This is not the first offensive marketing strategy adopted by Sportsbet.
This last remark is in reference to a remarkably similar controversy around this time last year.