Billboard in Ann Arbor promotes stalking of women?

Running along Main St. the other day I literally stopped in my tracks when I saw the new bulletin board posted above Main Street Liquor Store. Usually, these ads are for AnnArbor.com and/or local restaurants; they create a nice community space for local happenings. Not this one. Affixed with a photo of a blonde, pony-tailed 20-some year old woman with glasses and a goofy smile were the words “Before REACHEMOL, I only had one stalker!”

At first, I was confused. Then shocked, appalled, disgusted, pissed, outraged, and clenching my fists. I’m wondering if anybody else saw these ads, and, if so, what are your reactions?

I found a news article about the same bulletin board in a different location (http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110315/NEWS/103150321/-1/rss01) and saw in the comments that people have mixed reactions. The advertisement is a campaign for a fake drug, REACHEMOL, which cures social awkwardness. The point of the campaign is to attract business owners and demonstrate to them that this company has attractive and fun ways of advertising. Some said the board did in fact attract their attention, that they like it, and that people are overly sensitive or have no sense of humor.  Others had reactions more like mine where they were both confused and upset that a business would advertise making light of stalking. My feelings are directed both at the advertisers but also at the city of Ann Arbor for putting this billboard up in the first place.

I also found what I believe to be the website of the business behind the ads (http://www.thehangline.com/creative-examples/reachemol-billboards-claim-to-make-you-famous/). Some people commented on the stalker advertisement at the bottom, including myself (madweis825).

The third time I passed by the billboard, I saw that “stalker” has been changed to “groupie.” I’m relieved, though I still think the whole idea behind the advertising is weird. In the end, though, I’m appreciative that at least one business is listening to its consumers. I’m also outraged that a conscious society is something of which I have to be appreciative. With all of the things businesses and our fucked up legislators are getting away with for businesses, I feel as if a glimmer of humanity and agency live on.

"REACHEMOL" advertisement identical to the one seen on Main Street in Ann Arbor.

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1 Comment

Filed under Masculinity, Politics, Sexual Violence

One response to “Billboard in Ann Arbor promotes stalking of women?

  1. mpweis

    If you couldn’t access the link, here’s what I wrote on the company’s website in response to the billboard:

    “I’m glad to see that “stalker” has been changed to “groupie.” It’s a relief to see that corporations are listening to individuals. I hope that a lesson was learned in this case for a lot of people.

    I saw some discussions following online news articles about the board where people said that viewers are too sensitive, this isn’t a big deal in comparison, etc. Stalking is not something to make light of. The ad portrayed women as stupid, man-pleasing, ditzy objects, who want to be stalked and seen as “prey” by men. This is certainly not the case, nor should we want it to be. The original ad contributes to a culture where dehumanizing and abusing women (and really any group of people lower on the power scale) is a positive thing.

    The stalker point was ignorant and downright stupid. By changing the ad, we see that corporations CAN have the moral sense to do right, even when they don’t necessarily have to. This is encouraging especially in a current environment where it seems that corporations only care about money and nobody steps up for humanity or individuals. I’m glad to see that someone within the corporation stepped up here.

    However, damage has still been done. It is the responsibility of The Hangline (or whatever the corporation behind these boards is) to make some social reparations. This may be achieved through outreach efforts, discussions, and/or monetary contributions to organizations that help people who are effected by the culture created by these kinds of campaigns. The bulletin board I saw was in Ann Arbor, MI. A good resource nearby to reach out to is SAFE house (http://www.safehousecenter.org… which provides emergency responses, shelter, counseling, etc. for those endangered by domestic violence and sexual assault.

    I’m encouraged about what is to come from this. Hopefully, more corporations will respect the voices of their consumers and realize that they will lose consumers if they do not give this respect. More businesses need to realize their roles in promoting humanity and social consciousness.”

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