Media giant Clear Channel recently stirred up some controversy when it decided to flat out reject an advertising image of an American soldier embracing a veiled Muslim woman from its Times Square billboards due to its ‘uncomfortable’ nature.
The photo is part of an advertising campaign for SnoreStop, a line of over-the-counter snoring remedies. The company has already placed the image on a billboard in Los Angeles, with the pitch: “If we can keep this couple together, we can keep anyone together.”
Here’s a behind the scenes look at the photo shoot for the disputed billboard:
Clear Channel executives rejected the ad for its Times Square billboards, however, citing it “sensitive nature” and “uncomfortable imagery.”
Which is sort of the point, a SnoreStop marketing honcho told DNAinfo. “There is no nudity or bigotry or hostility in our #BeTogether campaign,” said chief branding officer Christian de Rivel. “In fact, we are specifically and aggressively promoting diversity, equality and harmony.”
SnoreStop execs say the billboard was inspired by an actual couple — soldier Jamie Sutton and his Muslim wife, Aleah. Even the models are an actual couple — soldier Paul Evans and his wife — who agreed to be in the ad because they are “no stranger[s] to other people’s discrimination.”
A SnoreStop executive said the company is trying to place the ad with another agency with Times Square billboard space, but hasn’t gotten much response.