Barbeques Galore has said it had nothing to do with the billboards.
Barbeques Galore confirmed to AAP FactCheck it had nothing to do with the billboards. Image by Tracey Nearmy/AAP IMAGES

Facebook users burned by prank BBQ billboards

William Summers November 23, 2022
WHAT WAS CLAIMED

Billboards in Melbourne displayed Barbeques Galore adverts with an anti-Liberal Party message.

OUR VERDICT

False. The billboard photos were created using digital editing software. The person who initially published the images has since admitted they were fake.

Social media users have shared images of digital billboards purporting to show Barbeques Galore advertisements mocking the Victorian Liberals as a party of “cookers”.

However, the images are not real photographs. The person who originally posted them to social media later admitted he created the billboard images using Photoshop. 

Barbeques Galore and the company that operates the digital billboards also confirmed the advertisements in question were never displayed on the billboards.

The images were initially posted to Twitter on November 21 by Adrian Elton, a self-described “cultural provocateur” who runs a Melbourne-based advertising and graphic design business

Mr Elton’s tweet included four images of digital billboards, each sporting the Barbeques Galore logo and the words: “Almost as many cookers as the Liberal Party”. 

A screenshot of the post
 The fake billboards with a Barbeques Galore logo read: “Almost as many cookers as the Liberal Party” 

‘Cooker’ is a slang term sometimes used to describe a conspiracy theorist

Mr Elton added a comment alongside the images that said: “Love it when a brand takes a stand! Spotted all over Melbourne this morning. Of course, as they’re digital billboards it’s hard to know whether or not the system was hacked? But if they’re legit, BBQs Galore deserves a mighty salute!”

Other Twitter users reposted the images to their own feeds, including here, here and here

The images have also been posted to Facebook, including here, here and here

However, the day after he tweeted pictures of the billboard, Mr Elton posted a follow-up message on Twitter in which he admitted it had all been a prank. 

 “Like ‘The Cat In The Hat’ that cleans up the house after he’s had his fun, I just wanted to confess, that I indeed done did it,” Mr Elton tweeted on November 22. 

“100% apologies to #barbequesgalore – hope you didn’t have to deal with any irate cookers!”

Mr Elton’s confessional tweet also included screenshots from his computer that appeared to show the various steps he took to create the images using Photoshop. 

Mr Elton was reportedly responsible for previous mock-up political advertisements, including a fake IKEA billboard that pilloried Clive Palmer in 2019 and a fake mobile advert that purported to be part of former treasurer Josh Frydenberg‘s 2022 reelection campaign. 

A spokesman for QMS, the advertising company that manages the billboards seen in the images, told AAP FactCheck that the adverts never appeared on its digital displays.

“These are fake, photoshopped images,” a spokesman for QMS said in an email. 

The fake photos have also been debunked by RMIT FactLab

Barbeques Galore general manager of marketing Mike Ainsworth confirmed to AAP FactCheck that the adverts were not commissioned by the retailer.

The Verdict

The claim that Barbeques Galore displayed an anti-Liberal Party message in a digital billboard campaign is false. The person who initially posted the billboards to Twitter confessed he faked the images using digital editing software. Barbeques Galore and the company that operates the digital billboards have also confirmed the advertisements were not genuine.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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