The Israel Tourism Ministry in London admits that advertising campaign for Tel Aviv Pride which asked people to "Imagine London without gays..." was controversial and deliberately lacked information.
Last week (April 18), Londoners were left confused after a series of electronic billboards were spotted around the Waterloo area, featuring an image of a deserted Westminster Bridge with the text ‘Imagine London Without Gays’ in black-and-white.
It was contrived by some as a hate speech ad, but as controversy grew, advertising company JCDecaux explained that it was actually part of a global campaign for the LGBT festival in Israel, and the reason London might be devoid of gay people was because all of them were set to visit Tel Aviv Pride.
Speaking to LGBT travel company OutOfOffice.com
, Naama Oryan-Kaplan, director of the UK and Ireland for the Israel Government Tourist Office, said: "Initially, social media was buzzing with disgust and bafflement at the teaser billboards plastered across London, and it is easy to see why; our messaging was controversial and lacked information.
"The reaction to our campaign has been priceless and something that we had hoped for".
She continued: "The messaging was simple, we wanted to showcase that life without the LGBTQ community is empty and dull, and that the community brings fun, colour and a certain vibrancy that really makes a city come to life; something that happens in Tel Aviv year round, but particularly during our annual Pride Festival."
Darren Burn, founder of OutOfOffice.com, said: "The Tel Aviv Pride campaign was certainly a bold move and created a lot of discussion".
"The campaign certainly offended some and the admission from the Tourism Ministry that the campaign lacked information would probably lead to a rethink in their messaging in the future".
Words: Norberto Paredes
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