A controversial Texas billboard inviting undocumented immigrants to find their “sugar daddy” on an online dating site was taken down on Monday after getting slammed by a wave of backlash from the local community and media.
The Arrangement Finders billboard, which overlooked the I-35 highway in Austin, read: “Undocumented Immigrant? Before you get deported get a sugar daddy.” The image featured a brown-skinned model and background colors that alluded to the Mexican flag.
People widely denounced the ad campaign on social media, forcing the company to ultimately distance itself from its own PR campaign and blame it on a third-party marketing firm.
“The billboard was created independently by a third party affiliate marketer,” Arrangement Finders parent company spokeswoman Debra Quinn told Fusion in an email. “It’s completely unacceptable and does not reflect the views or vision of our company.”
“The billboard was taken down yesterday morning and we are reviewing our third party affiliate marketing processes to prevent that from happening in the future,” she added.
The message on the billboard was apparently inspired by Republican candidate Donald Trump’s plan to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, according to a local Fox News affiliate in Phoenix, Arizona.
Arrangement Finders is just one of several companies that are trying to spin heated campaign rhetoric into a marketing opportunity.
Trump’s promise to build a border wall has inspired a wave of TV commercials and publicity stunts from brands such as Tecate, Carl’s Jr, Cucapá and 360fly. Some ads have landed a good punchline, while others miss the mark.
The online dating website, which describes itself as having “a VERY high female to male ratio,” had been criticized in the past for other controversial billboards, such as one that was posted in Los Angeles and read: “Hey students, need a summer job? Date a sugar daddy.”