Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don’t

Posted on by Patty Odell

There’s a billboard in Australia that is causing a stir.

It’s a billboard promoting Australia Day, Jan. 26, 2017: A celebration of the day Britain’s First Fleet arrived in 1788.

The billboard scrolls through about five different creative images that show a diverse representation of the backgrounds of the people living in Australia, including two Muslim women wearing hijabs. That’s when the trouble started.

Facebook posts showing images of the billboard were passed around by the haters and far right-wing groups, including United Patriots Front-Western Australia, which bills itself as a nationwide movement opposing the spread of the Islamification of Australia, among other things. The agency that created the promotion, QMS, received threats from a small group of people. Unfortunately, QMS quickly folded and pulled the ad. In a world that is rather scary, I would think the agency was afraid; afraid that it’s office or personnel would be attacked or harmed in some way. QMS didn’t respond to media inquires and just went dark, the Guardian reported.

Victoria’s Multicultural Affairs Minister Robin Scott said in a statement that Australia Day, “is about bringing people together and celebrating the diversity which makes this state and this country great.”

Advertising and marketing agencies have gone beyond reason to be inclusive in their marketing to avoid just such conflicts. It sets a bad precedent for the agency to fold to the haters. It’s easy for me to say, but the agency should put the billboard back up.

Australian Day Billbaord


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