Outdoor Billboard Calls "Career Women Bad Mothers"
Outdoor Advertising Association (OAA), one of Britain's largest and fastest growing advertisers, has struck a cord with the mothers of old mother England. In a recent billboard campaign, a poster was prominently placed on Whitworth Road in an attempt to encourage online shopping with the bold statement: "Career women make bad mothers." Regardless of the intent, this poster did nothing but enrage mothers throughout Britain and beyond, causing a public outcry over the statement, forcing the almost-immediate removal of the posters.
The Mother of All Mistakes
Aside from this mother of all mistakes, Outdoor has developed an excellent reputation throughout Britain as one of the premiere sources for advertising revenue. According to the Outdoor website, in 1998 83% of the UK's top 100 advertisers used Outdoor, and by 2007 that percentage had grown to an impressive 95%, skyrocketing Outdoor's revenue by 73% in less than a decade. Outdoor is the fastest growing traditional medium in the UK because Outdoor advertising is unavoidable and it boasts that it is consumer-friendly. The company website claims: "It sits easily with what consumers are doing when they are out and about. Outdoor is engaging and impactful, whilst other media can be unwarranted and unwanted."
Mums the Word
Unavoidable-absolutely. Once this poster was out there for all to see it was impossible to not look at and it was also impossible to take it back. Impactful-absolutely. With just one slogan an advertising giant was able to mobilize an entire country's population to cry out against the harsh statement that was deemed discriminatory and demeaning by many both at home and abroad. Even though OAA claims that their outdoor billboards are a form of media that is not unwarranted or unwanted, they obviously made an error in judgment on this topic. Perhaps it should be mums the word for OAA for a while until their tarnished reputation is back on track and not hung out to dry.
Britianthinks.com Encourages People to Express Their Opinions
The posters were placed in Rochdale in conjunction with a new website called Britainthinks.com that was launched on January 4th, 2010. Britainthinks.com is a website focused on encouraging debate among the people of Britain and aspires to be an independent space where people from all walks of life can express their opinions publicly and openly. "We're not backed by big news media organisations. We have no political or religious axe to grind. We just believe it is high time for us all to listen, speak and vote for the issues that count in our daily lives," claims the infant website. Two days after the posters went up, the popular British website Mumsnet.com logged over 1,200 comments in just two days, forcing OAA to do damage control over the "Career Women Make Bad Mothers" campaign. "We did not intend to cause any offence and we would stress that the questions posed were not the opinions of the OAA or any of its members. Regrettably the question relating to career women has caused offence and the OAA unreservedly apologises to anyone who has been offended. This was not our intention and, to ensure that this misunderstanding does not persist, instructions have been given to remove this poster."
Once the situation was rectified there were many cheers all around, but the Britianthinks.com website and the OAA are keeping mum on the issue of motherhood, for now at least.