The Home Office UK is in trouble on twitter for #Racistvan rolling advert

The Home Office UK - the people dealing with matters relating to immigration, permission to stay, work permits, citizenship, and asylum - have this ad-van rolling about with the headline question: In the UK illegally? coupled with the image of handcuffs. "You can text HOME to 78070 for free advice and help with travel documents if you decide to go home voluntarily", says the advert, rather than meet those handcuffs up close.

Now, people on twitter have dubbed this rolling ad the #racistvan and encourage folks to tweet with that hashtag when they spot it. As the hashtag is gathering traction we suggest the driver of the van take cover before it burns.

Some folks wonder how helping illegals return without fear of repercussions is racist and express this;

Matthew has this answer:

The hashtag is working too, people are reporting sightings of the vans location on twitter.

......and in the hashtag #racistvan, other ad-vans with highly charged political messages get to join in on the fun! The word 'racist' may have different meanings to different people. Not liking the EU as an economic and political union may be racist these days, I'm behind on my memos and have lost my right-to-have-opinions-license ever since I voted against joining the EU.

PromoGroupUK are being scolded for taking the money and running this ad.

And some have perhaps misunderstood what the media-providers role is in all this - they're selling the ad space, obviously, but it seems people think they should have refused this paying Government client.

Of course, PromogroupUK could refuse the ad, like ClearChannel refused the anti-war ad, if they can afford to turn down business and piss off the government. This twitter hashtag outrage is a similar tactic to the one Everyday sexism employed when she got brands to pull their ads from Facebook. In the latter case, the brands were contacted, as Facebook didn't do anything about the hateful groups in the beginning. When Facebooks income seemed at risk, action was taken. Meanwhile on the other side of the pond, ads like the burning twin tower ad, the doomsday poster campaign declaring the end of the world, and arrangement sites advertising for sugar daddies continue to exist because whomever can afford the media space may buy it. Pick your favorite offensive ad in banned ads.

So, who should one really contact about a government ad that one finds offensive? Maybe The UK Home Office? They're the senders, after all. They're the ones who set up the SMS hotline and chose a handcuff suggesting the very real consequence of facing arrest as a visual. They're the ones who hired an agency to do that horrific layout with the green distressed font stating how many arrests happened just last week in the area the van drives in. Their standard of communications has been crude and loud for as long as I can remember, and I'm quite familiar with them as I lived in the UK and had to carry a little green non-EU resident passport "at all times or any bobby has the right to arrest you" to quote the very serious™ officer that handled my foreign residents registration. Their penchant for colorful and loud-lettered information pamphlets that could be mistaken for the SUN's front page is a million miles away from any other governments style of communication that I've ever come across.

We'll see if the Home Office UK decides to halt the campaign, and/or if PromoGroupUK will take any sort of action on this. Maybe make it a TV show?

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