Sportsbet in Australia finding that gamblers were not rushing to bet on their national football team in the forthcoming World Cup in Brazil, went for a Paddy Power style stunt with a 46-metre high hot air balloon in the image of Brazil’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue.
However not all were impressed with the stunt with Twitter being split on the use of a Christian religious figure being used to promote gambling.
one user joked “He has amazing healing powers!” while another labelled it “revolting and offensive”.
The Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier, was unimpressed with the stunt.
“The Sportsbet campaign is simply a blatant attempt to boost business. The fact that it has sought to exploit Christian symbols shows both the power of those symbols and the company’s desperation to be relevant,” Dr Freier said in a statement.
“But the campaign is hypocritical because the Jesus who overturned the money-changers’ tables in the Jerusalem Temple would not encourage betting. And it is incoherent, in claiming the Socceroos are so inadequate that they need a miracle but patrons should nevertheless bet on them, while suggesting that the company is the author of miracles.”
Sportsbet.com.au spokesman Matthew Campbell said the stunt was to get people behind the Socceroos.
“The statue’s an icon of Brazil and all we’re doing is bringing it to Australia.”