Billboard backlash (before it ever started)

Many of you likely remember the billboard that went around several months ago from the McElroy Church of Christ.  Well after the unintended press from their Billboard, which unintentionally drove people to our site, MOA decided that we would start a fund and raise money to do a Billboard of our own.  It actually went to well, and before we knew it we had enough for three billboards and the backing of American Atheists.  The plan had become to do a reply billboard to the McElroy Church of Christ along with a calling card Billboard and a modified version of the Lincoln Tunnel Billboard that American Atheists were doing.

Not much difference between those two boards.

Point of clarification, the original board pictured was put up with a Company called Lamar by the McElroy Church of Christ in the Mansfield Ohio area.  It was posted to show we took our Billboard directly from what a Church had previously posted in the same Area.   The two photos of Billboards at the bottom of this post are photos of Religious billboards put up by Lind, including one that accuses the majority of Christians who attend Church of having the ‘Mark of the Beast’ for not attending Church on Saturday.   Sorry for any misunderstanding.  -Michael

We contacted LIND Billboard Company and worked with a very Nice Sales Rep named Kristin Yoshioka.  We spent several weeks exchanging emails, planning locations, and reviewing the graphics for the Billboards.  In late October everything was ready to go.  They had the final Graphic, had done the mock ups and we had approved them.  Everything seemed to be going off with out a hitch and I was extremely pleased with the company.

Fast forward to today, November 22nd 2011.   This morning I recieved an email from the Vice President of LIND advising me of the following.

I got a little sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  See I’ve always been an out spoken Atheist, as long as I’ve been an Atheist.  I’m use to people wanting to talk, argue, or save my soul, but I had yet to ever feel the sting of discrimination.  I swallowed the lump in my throat and sent an email back to the Maura S Siegenthaler asking her why they choose to wait till just before the Holiday when we had months of contact with their company and they had our graphics for weeks. I then attempted to call her but was told she was unavailable.  The following reply reinforced my initial gut feeling, it really was because we are Atheists spreading an Atheist message. Mrs. Siegenthaler this time went without the offical LIND letter head and replied to my email a couple of hours later.

The content of the proposed displays was supposed to have been approved beforehand by senior management at Lind, but unfortunately was not.  When the content of your proposed displays did recently come to the attention of senior management, it was felt that a legal opinion was needed as to whether the content of the proposed displays might constitute a violation of the terms and conditions of Lind’s lease agreements for the billboard structures at which the posters would be displayed.  Legal counsel determined that such displays could constitute a violation of such lease terms and conditions.  Moreover, the inflammatory nature of the proposed displays would no doubt be considered offensive to much of the community and would be harmful to Lind’s community reputation and goodwill.  Lind has always and will continue to reserve the right not to publish advertisements which, in its sole opinion, are obscene, unnecessarily offensive and/or not in the best interests of the community at large.  We regret any inconvenience this might have caused your organization and Lind will bear the costs it has already incurred in the production of the displays without charge.

Maura Siegenthaler
Vice President
Lind Media Company
North Main Street
Mansfield, Ohio 44902
419.522.2600
419.571.4286(cell)

My heart sank a bit.  I had really thought I would get a reply that said something like ‘Sorry, but we screwed up and mailed your graphics to Toronto’  or ‘We over booked our locations’.  While I do admire the honesty I really never expected someone to call our images “obscene, unnecessarily offensive and/or not in the best interests of the community at large”.

I mean come on how obscene or unnecessarily offensive is that?

Sure some might call the last Billboard “not in the best interests of the community at large” but to all those Atheists out there who are alone and think their the only ones on the planet who doesn’t believe in God this billboard is defiantly in their best interest.

I mean they had no problem putting these billboards up..

But somehow ours were “obscene, unnecessarily offensive and/or not in the best interests of the community at large.”

Thanks LIND for showing us what a double standard looks like!

Contact LIND and let them know what you think of their double standard.

Lind Outdoor
Advertising Company

409-411 North Main Street
Mansfield, OH 44902

1-800-444-LIND
tel: 419-522-2600
fax: 419-522-1323

Maura Siegenthaler
Vice President
Lind Media Company
409 North Main Street
Mansfield, Ohio 44902
419.522.2600
419.571.4286(cell)
mss@lindoutdoor.com

 

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70 Responses to Billboard backlash (before it ever started)

  1. CascadiaJ says:

    addendum: I’m not from the area, so I just did a quick search. Fascinating!: according to bestplaces.net and city-data.com, only about 35-39% of Mansfield citizens id religiously affiliated. Although, of those, nearly 25% are antichrist following Catholics. I wonder if Lind has their market research right.

  2. Drenn Workman says:

    Intent is the only area I see some legal wiggle room. Did Lind just lead us on the whole time and cancel at the last moment with the intent to sabotage any likelihood we might have a chance to have billboards up before the holiday, even with another company? Did they know from the beginning what it was they had in mind?

  3. firemarshalbillburns says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I as well wrote an email expressing how I felt this was discrimination and hoping that their view would change. It was short, but it got the message across.

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  5. Humbleman says:

    My completely non legal opinion is they violated no law, even if they did hurt your feelings. But, are you really going to tell me you are surprised that a company you have shown gets a lot of support from Christian billboards decided to not post a message which would undoubtedly inflame a large portion of their past paying clients?

    If I owned a billboard company I would reserve the right to not post messages I did not agree with, or those I feared might hurt my potential business.

    I can not fault them if they did same.

    Should they have been forthcoming the moment they made this decision? Absolutely from a moral point. But, did they break the law? Did they not tell you the moment the decision was made? these are questions I don’t know.

    Have theists shown to not be moral? in my history the answer is resounding YES and that alone drove me on my quest which has lead to my departure of what I can only surmise is mythology.

    I wish you well in your quest.

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  7. Elmer Gantry says:

    Was there a contract involved that was signed by agents representing the senior management of the billboard company?

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  9. Ben Fenton says:

    I just wrote an entire post—which I now have to chuck—based on the impression that your post gives—that LIND put out the Christian “There is no god” billboard but refused the atheist one :/ I know you corrected this, but you didn’t change the misleading graphic or content, and the clarification you wrote in red doesn’t really clarify things at all, it was written in a confusing way. Any chance you can just fix the misleading article? Thanks for your time.

  10. Michael says:

    I don’t feel the article is miss leading. The original McElroy Church of Christ Billboard image shows clearly that the board was put up by LAMAR. I explained in the clarification that the reason I posted the image and the reason we choose to do that board was because it had originally been posted by a Church, the McElroy Church of Christ. Regardless of any of that the true issues is all three of our Boards were called obscene, when that one was copied exactly from the McElroy Church of Christ.

    The true issue arises, as I explained later in the post that we had a signed contact, and one business day before they were scheduled to go up senior management declared our boards obscene. Had they just refused to do business with us from the get-go I would have happily moved on the LAMAR. LIND was chosen because Bids were taken from both LAMAR and LIND when we were looking to put them up. LIND won our business from LAMAR by offering us a lower cost and then canceled at the last minute leaving us no time to go with option 2.

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  15. David Draper says:

    I am also an atheist, and this whole ordeal definitely irked me. However, that’s not what my comment is about. I highly suggest that you get an editor, as their are quite a few elementary grammar and spelling mistakes in this article and you’re not representing the atheist community as most would like to be. Just some friendly advice. Have a good one.

  16. Rick Hickman says:

    David Draper…
    Your comments are valid.
    If you should consider volunteering to edit our humble site I am sure you would be welcomed.
    However—you may want want to fact-check the use of ‘their’ and ‘there’ before doing so.

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  19. Frances D. Seals says:

    Dont believe everything you hear!!!???? JEHOVAH GOD is all around us!!! The sky, the trees, the grass, the animals, fruits, vegetables, the food you eat!!!!, and most importantly, your LIFE!!!! You don’t hear GOD, you know GOD!!! What you hear and see are stupid things like your billboards that dont make sense, and are for people who worship the devil. The only thing that makes me feel good about your billboards is the fact that you WILL be missing out on your reward!!!! I can’t wait to see your faces when Jesus comes!!!