Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Advertising company steps forward to allow "censored" BHA census ad

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The BHA's Census Campaign
ad on a VMG screen in London
Advertising company VMG Global have begun running the British Humanist Association's "If you're not religious, for God's sake say so" census campaign ads on their digital advertising screens in shopping centres after expressing bewilderment at the manner in which the slogan was perceived as "offensive".

As was widely reported, the ads were rejected for display in railway stations by CBS Outdoor, after it was advised Committee of Advertising Practice that the slogan could cause "widespread and serious offence", and a bus campaign was subsequently launched by the BHA using an alternative message. Now VMG Global have stepped forward, with a spokesperson saying:
"VMG are delighted to help the BHA in its Census campaign by running the original, uncensored ads on our shopping centre screen network. We cannot see anything objectionable in the advertising copy. How this could cause anyone serious offence is a mystery to us."
The ads can now be seen in shopping centres on digital panels managed by VMG, with locations including London West One, Ipswich, Tunbridge Wells and Poole. And on this very subject, our editor, Caspar Melville, was in the Guardian on Saturday, asking whether advertising companies should be taking it upon themselves to police the boundaries of free speech. Do take a look.
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