46 metre high Christ The Redeemer hot air balloon sails above Melbourne to promote World Cup football
Residents of the Australian coastal city of Melbourne were treated to the sight of a 46 metre high hot air balloon fashioned into a replica of the famous Christ The Redeemer landmark in Rio sailing through the early morning mists above them this week.
The eye-catching aerial advertisement was commissioned by land and online bookmaking company Sportsbet, and had Christ wearing the Aussie national soccer team jersey and the slogan "Keep The Faith", reports the newspaper the Herald Sun.
The reaction of religious and anti-gambling groups was perhaps predictable and negative, with many adverse comments, and even the Deputy Premier of Victoria state, Peter Ryan, labeled the stunt as "disrespectful"… but it was definitely noticed.
Sportsbet PR manager Shaun Anderson was unrepentant; pointing out that the stunt was all about using a Brazilian icon to send a message of support to the Australian football team competing at The World Cup in Brazil.
"Let's be honest – the Socceroos need divine intervention to progress past their three group games so the message we're aiming to get across is that for all Aussies to keep the faith in the Socceroos," he said.
Analysts estimated that Sportsbet would have to pay out around A$6500 on a A$100 bet if the Socceroos won the World Cup this year.
The championship kicks off on Friday in Brazil.
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