5 unbelievable advertising gaffes which made the news

Spinnaker Tower has been falsely used in a French advertising campaign 
Picture: Dave Mould
Spinnaker Tower has been falsely used in a French advertising campaign Picture: Dave Mould

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French airport officials at Lyon-Saint-Exupéry Airport may have mistaken Southampton for Portsmouth in their latest poster campaign, but they aren’t the first to make an advertising blunder.

To make the company feel a little better about their use of the iconic (Pompey) landmark Spinnaker Tower, we’ve found some of the other gaffes that have made the news over the years.

1. #HongKongisnotChina goes viral

For a movie that focuses on how to communicate, the makers of sci-fi flick ‘Arrival’ were left red-faced last month when their latest movie poster was released.

The new promotional posters displayed the Hong Kong skyline, but there was a very alien addition- Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Tower.

Makers Paramount tried to get round the problem by blaming a ‘third party vendor’, and later released another poster - showing the entire Shanghai background.

2. The Midlands or the USA?

Council recycling bosses in Birmingham were left embarrassed in 2008 when they sent out leaflets to 360,000 homes in the city - all displaying the skyline of Birmingham, Alabama.

The mistake was spotted by resident Jon Cooper who asked the Birmingham Mail: ‘Who is checking this stuff?’

In possibly the least convincing response of all time, a council spokesperson said the image was meant to be a ‘generic urban skyline picture’, which had been “well-received” by residents...

3. Christ Almighty

Everyone makes the occasional spelling mistake, but one church in York had to face the wrath of its parishioners in March after an error on its Easter signs.

Acomb Parish Church had made a sign, with a white background and red writing, which was meant to say ‘Christ Is Risen.’

But due to a spelling error the sign actually read ‘Chris Is Risen.’

The church saw the funny side, sending a photo to BBC York, while many people on Facebook took the opportunity to tag their good friend ‘Chris’ in the infamous sign.

4. Nelson Mandela. Movie star?

When former South African leader Nelson Mandela died in 2013, tributes were paid to him from all over the world.

That didn’t stop one billboard in India paying tribute instead to Hollywood star Morgan Freeman, rather than the late 95-year-old.

Freeman played Mandela in the 2009 film Invictus, which might explain the reason for the gaffe.

The billboard was reported in be in Chennai, but as it is also written in Tamil it has been difficult to verify the poster.

5. Vote for me- 150 miles away

People often complain that politicians are out of touch with those they represent, but for Charlotte Haitham Taylor that might genuinely be true.

The Tory candidate, who hoped to become the MP for North West Durham, came under fire during last year’s election campaign after people saw one of her election billboards 150 miles away in Cleethorpes.

She said the error had been down to the media agency responsible for putting up the posters.

The vote was won by Labour candidate Pat Glass, although it wasn’t clear whether the posters had anything to do with that.