Bookmaker floats 151-foot Christ the Redeemer hot air balloon wearing World Cup shirt over city

The Rio Report

Bookmakers will do just about anything to get themselves noticed, it would seem.

Other well known bookies have already been in on the act with crazy publicity stunts, including playing with graphics in order to shock with a supposed rainforest clearance.

Now a 151-foot Jesus balloon wearing a World Cup shirt with the words "#KeepTheFaith" on the back has, according to ABC News, "outraged some politicians and business executives."

Of course it has, and it's no surprise, really.

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Indeed, many fans and locals have been equally disgusted with the stunt in Melbourne, which has been seen as disrespectful and insensitive.

Rev Costello, the chair of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, told Yahoo! Australia that the stunt was an overreach and against the principles Jesus stood.

"One of the great statues in Rio is Jesus, and Brazil is a Catholic nation that takes its faith seriously and its football fanatically," Costello said.

"You don't exploit those things that are sacred to people simply for your own advertising reach and I think that soccer as a world game should be sensitive to that and certainly express their disdain for these types of advertisements."

It follows Paddy Power having shared an aerial image of the letters "C'mon England PP" cut into a large section of the Amazon rainforest, only to reveal amid a furious backlash that the picture was only the result of "computer wizardry."

But a Christ the Redeemer wearing an Australia shirt? Now, that's just wrong, right?

The Australian sportsbook's creation hovered in the skies above Melbourne, and it has created the outraged reaction that was perhaps inevitable.

Australia will face a difficult World Cup group stage with matches against three very talented sides in Spain, the Netherlands and Chile, so their fans are advised to enjoy the World Cup spirit as early as possible.

[RIO REPORT: More World Cup content from Brazil]

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