'Silly' decision to drop Orange and Proud advertising campaign
The Orange Order has described as bizarre a decision to drop a mineral water advertising campaign with the slogan Orange and Proud in Scotland and across Ireland.
The high-profile advertising board posters by drinks company Volvic will only be displayed in England and Wales over fears they would associate the orange-flavoured product with the Protestant religious order and offend Catholics.
While advertising experts said the firm made the right decision, critics claimed it was political correctness gone mad.
A Grand Lodge of Ireland Orange Order spokesman said the organisation attempted to reach out across the community.
He added: "The institution would challenge Danone to publicly explain the rationale of their advertising disparity within the UK, particularly given the fact Orange lodges also exist in England. Such a position is ridiculous and inconsistent."
Volvic is owned by the French multinational food company Danone.
The posters featuring a smiling model with ginger hair holding the bottle will appear on advertising boards in England and Wales.
They will not be displayed in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland or Scotland - although the product will be sold in shops everywhere.
A Danone statement said: "We are aware of the sensitivities, which is why these posters will not appear in Ireland, Northern Ireland or Scotland. This campaign was designed as a fun and positive brand statement for Volvic as part of our marketing campaign."
Democratic Unionist Stormont politician and prominent Orange Order member Nelson McCausland claimed the firm's position was nonsensical.
He said: "It is a wrong decision and a silly decision.
"Are supermarkets in South Armagh going to stop stocking oranges?"
Ian Twinn, director of public affairs at the ISBA, which represents British advertisers, said the advertising agency should have tested the campaign on the market to make sure it worked.
"I think they have probably made the right decision given that they have gone for that creative idea and that was going to be the advert and then thought oops, it won't work in Ireland north or south or Scotland - they really could not win.
"There are sensitivities here either way and you really cannot win."