Firm forced to take down 'inappropriate' billboard after it ‘offended’ people
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A company has been forced to take down an ‘inappropriate’ billboard – only to hit back at the ‘offended’ by putting up another.
Oldham-based artificial grass company Great Grass MCR Ltd had erected a large sign at a busy junction in Hollinwood near the M60 motorway.
The billboard, located 500m from the showroom, said the company were 'Artificial Grarse Experts', with an image underneath showing a woman in a thong lying on a patch of turf.
"Perfect 365 days a year,” the poster added.
“Get laid by the best."
After receiving a number of complaints, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) forced Great Grass MCR Ltd to take it down in November, ruling that it 'objectified and stereotyped women as sexual objects'.
The ASA, which is the UK's independent regulator of advertising across all media, found the sign to be ‘irresponsible and likely to cause serious offence', even though the company insisted it was just a ‘bit of light-hearted fun and not intended to offend anyone’.
However, after taking the poster down, the firm has now replaced it with another – this time ‘apologising’ to those who found the previous version offensive.
Referencing the ASA complaints, the new sign says: “Apologies to the offended 4.
“You found it offensive, we all found it funny.”
There is then an angry face emoji next to the number four, alongside a crying-with-laughter face emoji next to the number 40,000,000, implying that many people found the stunt amusing.
“Just because you’re offended, doesn’t mean you’re right,” it adds, followed by details of a promotional offer for people to quote ‘not offended’ to receive 10 percent off their next order.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, owner Mike Allen said the original billboard had been up for months before any complaints were made.
Despite the backlash, he claimed the overall reaction had been great for business, saying: “It had been up for three months before it received three complaints.
“We’ve had that billboard spot for five years and no one has ever seen it but now that people have complained, everyone’s seen it.
“It was never meant to be offensive and we’ve had thousands of comments telling us they found it funny. It's been shared around the world and featured in loads of newspapers."
Allen said he had originally aimed to create a second ad featuring a topless man instead of a woman in a thong, but decided to poke fun at the complaints instead.
He added: “I was just going to go back to doing a normal poster but then I thought, I’ll just say what everyone has said to us that they found it funny.
“It’s like Ricky Gervais said, just because someone finds something offensive doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right.”
Allen said he intends to keep going with the same tongue-in-cheek approach in the future.
“In the end, it’s had a positive effect on us and it’s worked out in our favour,” he said defiantly.
“We’ve turned it on its head and it’s been the best thing to happen to us.
“In this day and age, with what’s going on in Ukraine and this country, there’s a million and one other things that we should all be worrying about instead.”
Featured Image Credit: MEN Media
Topics: UK News