Victoria’s Avalon Airport has been forced to ditch its new advertising campaign after being accused of making light of domestic violence.
Domestic violence groups, community figures and women have expressed outrage over the campaign’s slogan – “Fly domestic without having one” – that is still slapped across a billboard on Melbourne’s Western Ring Road.
The yellow banner also featured across the top of Avalon Airport’s Facebook page and website, but was removed on Tuesday afternoon after an angry reaction on Facebook.
The tagline was criticised as insensitive and inappropriate in the context of recent domestic violence tragedies in Victoria, including last week’s deaths of two toddler sisters in Watsonia and mother of four Fiona Warzywoda in Sunshine.
Domestic Violence Victoria chief executive Fiona McCormack described the slogan as insensitive and irresponsible.
“This would had to have been approved by so many different people, and for not one to actually question it is extraordinary,” she told AAP.
Geelong councillor Jan Farrell said the campaign was “appalling”.
“Can’t believe that anyone would try to sell tickets with a domestic violence slogan,” she tweeted on Tuesday night.
Other Twitter users also questioned the campaign’s choice of words.
“Oh dear, Avalon Airport….maybe not an appropriate tagline, considering the current coverage of family violence,” wrote Roz @ MWR.
“Been driving past it everyday on freeway. Although I think they mean domestic argument it did appear in bad taste,” Nadia Bonvicino tweeted.
Avalon Airport yesterday announced on Twitter the billboard will be removed as quickly as possible, adding “no offence intended”.
The campaign, launched in late March, was designed to encourage “disgruntled travellers” to consider using Avalon as an alternative to its busy rival Tullamarine when flying domestic.
It was set to run across freeway billboards, digital advertising and on the airport’s fully rebranded website.
At the time, Avalon Airport’s marketing manager Tess Cameron said the goal was to “create awareness in the market in a humorous way”.
Avalon chief executive Justin Giddings said the billboard would be taken down in around a week.
“Obviously we didn’t mean anything by it,” he told the Geelong Advertiser.
“What we were trying to say is that Avalon is a far easier place, in terms of congestion and the amount of frustration and anger experienced, than Melbourne Airport.
“It was a bit of a play on words and that’s fine.
“We’ll pull it down because we don’t want to cause anyone any angst.”