You know what they say: sex sells. And with that in mind, one UK casino in Northampton thought that projecting the image of a model might draw a little attention to their operation and create some buzz around the city. Unfortunately, the church they decided to display the model on didn’t appreciate having the seductive and suggestive image of the woman displayed on their clock tower.
Model Citizen, or Not
The incident started when a local casino known as Aspers decided that they wanted to advertise their Valentine’s Day “strip poker night” promotion – one that included three models (two female, one male). They figured that an alluring 30-foot tall projection of one of the “Page 3 girls” involved would be just the thing to spread the word and generate some interest and excitement about their upcoming event.
What’s less clear is why they decided to project that image on the tower of All Saints, a local Northampton church. That led to outrage from church officials, who say they were not consulted for the use of their building in the stunt.
“We are offended that this was done,” said Father David McConkey, the priest at All Saints. “No permission was sought or gained. We would be grateful for an apology for this misuse of a sacred space.”
McConkey said that he didn’t know of the stunt until after parishioners started to contact him, and one eventually showed him a photo of the projection on the tower.
“It seems very improper to me,” McConkey said. “We want this building to be a sign of God in the community. The company has never contacted me or asked any permission to do this. I don’t want to appear po-faced, but we would not have given permission for this.”
Diocese Balks (or at Least Wants Payment)
The Diocese of Peterborough also weighed in on the issue, saying that even disregarding the content, the methods used by Aspers were highly improper.
“[The diocese is] disappointed that Aspers Casino has sought to use a church building for advertising a commercial event without offering payment and without even having the decency to seek permission first,” said a diocese spokesperson.
The publicity stunt wasn’t a popular move among locals, either. Local resident Ruth Campbell said it was a “distasteful attack on the church and our religion,” and the group No More Page 3 – which has campaigned to stop The Sun from continuing to publish photos of topless models on page 3 of their newspaper.
“Good that there’s been a backlash,” tweeted No More Page 3. “Local feminist groups are essential for fighting these local fights as well.”
The casino, however, has not issued a formal apology, though they did claim that the move wasn’t intended to offend anyone from the church or the community.
“We did not mean to cause offense in any way at all and it was purely meant in good spirit,” an Aspers Casino spokesperson said. “Our alternative Valentine’s Strip Poker event on Friday night is a bit of fun and slightly tongue on cheek, plus it is free for all to enter.”
Aspers Casino Northampton is just one of four Aspers casinos in the UK. Other locations include Stratford, Newcastle, and a new casino in Milton Keynes.