Billboard hunk may be vegan, but he doesn't know his shamrocks

By SHAWNE K. WICKHAM
New Hampshire Sunday News
March 02. 2018 10:35PM

A billboard, put up by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, appears atop a store on Elm Street in Manchester. (BRUCE TAYLOR/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, a billboard in Manchester is giving a whole new meaning to “luck of the Irish.”

The message that went up Thursday on Elm Street depicts a shirtless, dark-haired, blue-eyed man under the heading “Kiss Me, I’m Vegan.”

Sponsored by PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — it cheekily suggests: “Go vegan and get really lucky this St. Patrick’s Day.”

The billboard will be up for a month, according to PETA spokesman Audrey Shircliff.

Shircliff said PETA is placing the ad in Manchester “because it has been called the ‘most Irish city in the country.’”

Boston and New York might take issue with that, but there may be some truth to it. Manchester even paints a large shamrock on Elm Street each year in preparation for its St. Patrick’s Day parade, which this year is on Sunday, March 25.

PETA is always looking for “new and novel ways to help all animals, including humans,” Shircliff said. “Placing a sexy, upbeat billboard is an opportunity for us to spark curiosity about all the benefits of going vegan.”

Apparently the ad was too much for some cities. PETA tried to place the same ads with agencies in Savannah, Ga., and Butte, Mont., but they were rejected, according to PETA.

Michael Landry, deputy director of building regulations for Manchester’s Department of Planning and Community Development, said the city issues permits for billboards but doesn’t regulate their content.

The most controversial part of the billboard, however, may have nothing to do with the sexy hunk or suggestive message depicted. The model has a four-leaf clover in his teeth.

Most folks who are Irish will tell you the shamrock, which has three leaves, is the symbol of Ireland and, indeed, of St. Patrick’s Day. Legend has it that the good saint himself used the shamrock to explain the Trinity.

The four-leaf clover is a rare variation and considered a symbol of luck by lots of people, not just the Irish.

It’s a common mistake, apparently. Guinness — of all people — used a four-leaf clover in a 2016 ad campaign in Canada commemorating St. Patrick’s Day. After some Irish Canadians took to social media to voice their outrage, Guinness released a statement apologizing for the gaffe and removed the ads from subway stations in Toronto.

“In the excitement of getting ready for next week, we obviously made a mistake and thank you for bringing it to our attention,” the company said in a statement.

Likewise, Shircliff thanked the New Hampshire Union Leader for pointing out the PETA billboard’s similar faux pas, and promised to “pass it on.”

swickham@unionleader.com


AnimalsHoliday or vacationGeneral NewsManchester

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