I didn’t really give these billboards much notice – I’m pretty jaded to advertising – so it took a complaint by my friend Rodleen’s on Facebook to grab my attention.
To promote the newest season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” HBO has posted numerous billboards around LA showing the victim of suicide by hanging above the show’s star, Larry David, asking via text, “Is it me?”
It’s humor befitting of the show. But is it appropriate to post all over the city?
Rodleen’s take: “I understand humor can be dark, but a poster depicting suicide is truly brutal to the heart. It has the potential to drive someone to the edge.”
While I haven’t heard much about these billboards, today in the LA Times Steve Lopez writes about how a billboard depicting a vagina for an Absolut vodka ad in Los Angeles remains up, while another one critical of Mercury Insurance, purchased by a consumer watchdog group, was removed after a complaint by Mercury.
Alas, while one billboard exhibiting the spirit of free speech and nary a naughty word has been pulled down, two billboards, one with a vagina, the other with a suicide victim, both with the backing of billion dollar corporations, remain up. Who says capitalism is dead?
Personally, the only kinds of billboards I find offensive are those that cover, and sometimes damage, historical properties not originally intended for display ads. Besides that, anything goes. Still, in the spirit of community, one would hope that the billboard companies, or properties that allow these to be displayed, would be more apt to restrict ads that offend the populace that has to see them than any that potential clients, based miles away, will never see.