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Should advertisers tone down the rampant nationalism for Euro 2016?

On Friday we reviewed Lucky Generals’ latest stunt ad for bookmaker Paddy Power, a truck parked outside the Russian Embassy in London with a rude quote from England football striker Jamie Vardy. The point being to wind up the Russians ahead of Saturday’s Euro 2016 football game between England. and Russia. And encourage people to bet on the game with PP, of course.

Wonder what client and agency thought when they saw the TV coverage of the pitched battle between England fans, who’d been cheerfully rioting away in Marseilles, and what looked like an organised assault by so-called Russian “ultras” in the stadium and after the match on the streets of Marseilles?

You can’t blame the ad for this but you can wonder if such nationalistic ‘humour’ is either wise or responsible. AMV BBDO’s ‘D-Day’ ad for Mars is another such, albeit less obviously provocative. But some French supporters were involved in the battles it seems.

England and Russia may be be kicked out of the tournament if there’s a repeat, which there might well be as the two teams are both playing in northern France later this week. Most other countries would say “good riddance.”

Can’t we find a way of presenting football in a way that doesn’t make it look like war by other means?

Wonder what’s planned for England against Wales on Thursday?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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