A billboard company is refusing to run ads they claim do not meet “community standards” in 38 Georgia counties because of their wording. What are these obscene and objectionable words?
They announce that gay people exist.
James Locke, general manager for Lamar Outdoor Advertising’s operations in South Georgia, said he declined to sell ad space to the Atlanta-based Georgia Equality because of the wording on the signs.
“We just didn’t feel the copy was right for those markets,” Locke told Morris News Service in a telephone interview.
The billboards proposed by Georgia Equality feature images of professionals, such as a male firefighter and a female doctor, and include tag lines that read, “I protect you. And … I am gay. We Are Your Neighbors.”
Another company overlooked the obscenity contained in the ads, and is running the billboards in eight counties comprising metro Atlanta. No reports of offended community members have yet surfaced.
The company’s web site claims it has special expertise at reading area markets. It also says it provides all the choices an advertiser needs.
As long as it isn’t ill-mannered enough to be out of the closet?
Lamar’s business strategy is to be the premier provider of outdoor advertising in each of the markets it serves…We can also help with…software that allows us to analyze the target audience and its demographics…Lamar delivers both the choices and the support that allow advertisers to deliver their messages with maximum impact.
After first claiming the boards were sold, or unavailable, the Lamar guy finally admitted he just isn’t comfortable with the ads.
Locke, the Lamar manager, said he would be open to selling ads to Georgia Equality as long as the wording of the ads was altered.
When asked twice to point out which words in the Georgia Equality billboard were objectionable, Locke would not identify any specific words.
“We’re not turning down business from Georgia Equality, we’re just turning down these actual ads,” he said.
Lamar is a publicly-traded company and sells boards in 40 states and Canada. PR readers know what to do. If you’re in a position to determine your company’s billboard placement, don’t buy from Lamar. Even if you aren’t, email the company’s headquarters with your opinion at firstname.lastname@example.org.