Volvic has had to pull an advertising campaign from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland over concerns that the “Orange and Proud” line used in its posters could offend Catholics.
The Danone-owned mineral water brand launched a marketing campaign to promote its new orange flavoured drink which featured posters with a smiling model with ginger hair holding a bottle of water.
The “Orange and Proud” wording in the posters caused the French company to rethink its placement amid fears that it would be associated with the Protestant Orange Order which could offend Catholics.
A statement from Danone said: “We are aware of the sensitivities, which is why these posters will not appear in Ireland, Northern Ireland or Scotland. This campaign was designed as a fun and positive brand statement for Volvic as part of our marketing campaign.”
The campaign will now not be run in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland or Scotland, however the product itself will still be sold in shops everywhere.
Tom Elliott, the Ulster Unionist Party MP said that it was “absolute nonsense” to suggest that anyone could be offended by a soft-drink advertising campaign.
Elliott, who is a member of the Orange Order, argued that there were many drinks with “green” in the title that used the colour green for advertising yet it never offended unionists.
Ian Twinn, director of public affairs at the ISBA, which represents British advertisers, said the advertising agency should have conducted testing on how the campaign would have been received in different markets.
“I think they have probably made the right decision given that they have gone for that creative idea ... and then thought oops, it won’t work in Ireland north or south or Scotland. They really could not win. There are sensitivities here either way,” said Twinn.