What’s more offensive: a billboard criticizing an insurance company or a skyscraping vagina advertising vodka? If you’re in the business of selling advertising space, it’s no contest: criticism of a business, of course.
In this case, public advocacy group Consumer Watchdog bought billboard space and advertised, “You can’t trust Mercury Insurance,” along with its URL. After Mercury complained to CBS Outdoor, which leased the billboard space, the billboard was removed. It had been up for almost two weeks.
When the Los Angeles Times called for comment, CBS Outdoor had none. Mercury responded by pointing to the removal of the billboard as evidence of its rectitude – funny considering that CBS most likely removed the ad in order to avoid a possible legal skirmish, not as any sort of judgment about the claims again the company. Mercury also referred the LA Times to the company’s written statement that “Consumer Watchdog’s claims about Mercury Insurance and its motivation are without merit.”
Consumer Watchdog’s concerns about Mercury, which is based in Los Angeles, are outlined on its website, in Top 10 Reasons Why You Cannot Trust Mercury Insurance Company. The group is considering legal action over the removal of its billboard, which it had paid for through September 20.
As for the vagina, it remains adorning a tall building several sites away from the former Mercury billboard spot. Apparently, the Anti-HooHa Guild isn’t threatening a lawsuit – or, at least, not yet.
It’s funny what passes for offensive these days [Los Angeles Times]