A Canadian recruitment company has been forced to issue a grovelling apology for a ‘drunken Paddy’ advertising campaign.
The Workopolis organization got in trouble when it ran the ads in morning newspaper the day after the St Patrick’s celebrations in March.
TheJournal.ie reports that Irish people resident in Canada complained to authorities about the advert.
The report says the newspaper advert featured a man in celebratory Irish attire and obviously suffering the effects of binge drinking.
In response to a complaint by an Irish man living in Toronto, the Workopolis marketing department said it had ‘not caught the potential portrayal of a nationality in the ad.'
A spokesperson thanked the complainant for ‘calling it to their attention’.The spokesperson added: “We’ll be more cautious with our symbolism moving forward.
“The firm sincerely apologizes if it seems that we were promoting stereotypes about Irish people or their culture.
“Please let me assure you that in no way did we intend for the character in our advertisement to be interpreted as being of Irish decent.
“We were trying to take a humorous look at the after effects of too much celebrating on a work night.
“Many North Americans of all backgrounds see St. Patrick’s Day as a great opportunity for a party, and it fell on a Monday this year.”
The complainant told TheJournal.ie that he was satisfied with the response but disappointed about the ‘reinforcement of a tired stereotype of the drunken Irish.'
He said: “It is one that seems perfectly acceptable to joke about.
“We wouldn’t use alcohol jokingly in advertisements about Native Americans or Australian Aborigines or other minorities who have been oppressed over the years.
“I have had to listen to these connotations from people since I’ve been here and you cannot control what people say but you have a responsibility to your audience to treat all with respect and dignity and see beyond the easy joke.”
The complainant has also expressed concern that it was a recruitment company putting the ad out there and feels this could make it even harder for Irish immigrants to find work in Canada.
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