New year, new advertising controversy. This time courtesy of Garry Lace's agency Beta and the Outdoor Advertising Association. As I'm sure that you've read about its a campaign designed to demonstrate how outdoor advertising can generate mass public awareness.
Did it work?
In one sense without doubt. Debate was sparked all over the web (though mainly on Mumsnet and Twitter from what I can see and ironically not on BritainThinks.com which was the stated objective) and the ad was pulled yesterday.
But does this prove that outdoor "works" as a medium or does it prove that a controversial message generates controversy?
On Monday Islam4UK announced that they would be marching in Wooten Basset with empty coffins in an anti-war demonstration. They likened the British Army to the Nazi Army and all hell broke loose. Just take a look on Google. Islam4UK didn't use an outdoor billboard to spark this, they used a press release but it got the required result.
Messages that upset and anger people get them talking.
The message not the medium.
It's quite simple.
If Beta had decided to make a short film about how inadequate working mothers are, then seeded it and released it online I think that it would probably have had the same effect.
And now apparently Beta have decided to sue Mumsnet (can anyone confirm that's true??) The Mumsnet community certainly seem to think that is the case. Click on the link and read from about the 60th page of comments for the latest.
As one mum said "He Who Shall Not Be Named" (they are not allowed to mention the Beta founder by name anymore) wanted a campaign that sparked debate and when it sparked debate he now wants to shut it down.
Happy new year.
UPDATE 7/01/10: The Mumsnet legal action was initiated because of the comments about Garry's genitalia apparently. See comments below.