Hungarian government uses 'Distracted Boyfriend' couple in billboard campaign

Hungarian government uses 'Distracted Boyfriend' couple in billboard campaign
© Shuttershock

The Hungarian government is using the couple from the “Distracted Boyfriend” internet meme to promote its new pro-family benefits.

A photo of one of the new billboards in Budapest has garnered international attention in recent days. The billboards promote a new government plan to offer lifetime income tax exemption to Hungarian women with four or more children.

The photo on the billboard, showing a man and a woman embracing, is one of dozens of stock images featuring the couple available on image website Shuttershock.

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Another photo from the series, which shows the man ogling another woman to the visible disdain of his partner, quickly became an internet legend starting in 2017. It has been shared thousands of times as the “Distracted Boyfriend” meme.

The series was taken in 2015 by Spanish photographer Antonio Guillem.

The man who took the photo of the new billboard told BuzzFeed News that his son pointed out the image while driving past.

“I was driving my kids to school and my son noticed this new billboard — it’s the Hungarian government’s new ad for their pro-family benefit programs," the man, who did not want to be named in the story, said. "And my son immediately said, ‘this is the couple from that meme.’"

The posters were put up to replace anti-European Union billboards that featured billionaire George Soros and Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission, according to BuzzFeed News, ahead of a visit to the country by the leader of the political party coalition EPP, of which Juncker is a part.

The billboards have sparked some mockery from social media users who say that using the couple to urge families to have more children is not a smart move by the government.

“The happy couple gracing the Hungarian government’s campaign advertising its new family policy is already famous on the internet...and not for being madly in love,” wrote Financial Times reporter Valerie Hopkins on Twitter.