Entries in Billboard (3)


Doctors Group Removes Cheese Hat from Controversial Billboard

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(GREEN BAY, Wis.) -- A billboard carrying an ominous warning about cheese consumption went up as planned Tuesday near Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., but with its most controversial element missing.

The Grim Reaper has lost his Cheesehead.

The physicians group that sponsored the ad says the billboard vendor refused to put up the original ad after the manufacturer of Cheesehead hats threatened legal action against both the doctors group and the billboard company.

“Although we weren’t backing down the billboard vendor did back down,” said Dr. Neil Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), which designed the ad and rented the billboard space.

The original ad featured The Grim Reaper sporting a Cheesehead, a triangular yellow hat made popular by legions of fans of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.  The text of the ad reads: "Warning: Cheese Can Sack Your Health. Fat. Cholesterol. Sodium.”

But Barnard said that after receiving a threat of legal action from Foamation, the company that holds trademarks on the Cheesehead, the billboard vendor refused to put the ad up in its original form. According to Barnard, PCRM offered to indemnify the company against legal action, but still they wouldn’t budge.

So Tuesday, after painting over the Cheesehead with black and gray paint, the sign is now up along Route 41 in De Pere, a heavily traveled route for Packers’ fans on their way to the stadium.

“The message that we designed was intended to be informative about an important issue and a little bit funny, in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way,” Barnard said.  “And I am sorry that some of that is going to be lost.  This is America, and if I want to say that cheese is high in cholesterol and sodium and fat, a doctor should be able to say that.”

The underlying message of the campaign is that the American people are consuming far too much cheese, and it is leading to obesity and other health problems, he said. According to USDA figures cited by PCRM, the average American consumes nearly 34 pounds of cheese annually, more than 10 times the average amount a century ago.

“Where are we putting 30 more pounds of cheese per person every year? The answer, Barnard says, “is on our thighs, in our middles and all over our bodies, in obesity. That word has got to get out but it is going to take more than one billboard to drive that point home.”

PCRM’s planned billboard had also raised the ire of the state’s $26 billion dairy industry.  An official of the state’s Milk Marketing Board said Monday that the group is an animal rights fringe group with a “vegan agenda.”  The erasure of the Cheesehead is not likely to placate advocates for the dairy industry.

Barnard said PCRM’s campaign is about public health and free speech, and he’s disappointed the Cheesehead company decided to object to the billboard. And he couldn’t resist a parting shot at Packers’ fans who don the hats on any given Sunday.

“If they feel like someone somehow is hurting the reputation of a Cheesehead, it is hard to imagine anything hurting the reputation of it any more than has already been done by all those people sitting in the stands at ball games with paint on their faces with those silly hats on their heads eating hot dogs,” he said. “It is not a very appealing image.”

Take that, Cheeseheads.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Scientists' Billboards Ask Whether You'd Save a Child or a Lab Rat

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Medical researchers, long pilloried by animal rights activists as heartless torturers of helpless creatures, are fighting back with a provocative billboard campaign that features a white rat and a smiling little girl.

"Who would you rather see live?" the billboard asks.

That billboard has appeared in Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Chicago and Baltimore, and will soon debut in Madison, Wis. -- all cities with major medical or primate research centers. They were put up by the Washington, D.C.-based Foundation for Biomedical Research, a non-profit educational organization funded by universities, hospitals, advocacy groups, pharmaceutical companies, and biotech firms with a stake in animal research. The foundation, like its sister lobbying organization, the National Association of Biomedical Research, supports "humane and responsible use of animals in research."

The campaign, which cost $125,000 to $150,000, aims to push back against animal-rights activists' high-profile attempts to shut down animal experimentation, particularly neuroscience studies on primates, said Frankie Trull, the foundation's president and founder.

The foundation, which has tracked public attitudes about animal research since its creation in 1981, found "a surprisingly concerning drop in public support" for animal research from the 1990s, when it was over 70 percent, to 54 percent in 2008, Trull said.

From 2006 through 2008, militant activists from the Animal Liberation Front, the Animal Liberation Brigade and the UCLA Primate Freedom Project attacked and intimidated UCLA researchers with firebombs, online death threats and packages containing poisoned razors. UCLA sought and won restraining orders against them.

One of their targets, Dario L. Ringach, a neuroscientist at UCLA, has described how his young children slept as masked activists pounded on the doors and windows of his home. He ultimately gave up working with animals, but he says, "The human cost of not doing the research is unacceptable. Can anyone imagine not having a polio vaccine today?"

His Web page contains links to organizations founded by like-minded investigators, including Speaking of Research, which on April 4 described a new tactic, by the anti-vivisection group Negotiation is Over, "targeting university students who plan to enter the health sciences field." The group claimed success in steering a Florida Atlantic University science student away from a research career.

"Intimidating, harassing, threatening or justifying the assassination of students and faculty engaged in biomedical research to achieve a political or social goal is a form of terrorism that has no place in our democratic society," Ringach wrote in an email to ABC News on Wednesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Animal Research Promoted by Controversial Billboards

ABC News(SEATTLE) -- Who should live, a little girl or a rat?  That's what a billboard campaign promoting the use of animals in research for human medical treatments asks.

The advertisements are a part of the Research Save campaign, paid for by the Washington, D.C., non-profit organization Foundation for Biomedical Research.

"Without research with animals models, especially rodents, we will not have cures for the many currently incurable diseases afflicting children today including leukemia, diabetes, paralysis, autism, congenital heart disease, cystic fibrosis, Deuchenne muscular dystrophy and malaria," FBR President Frankie Tull said.

Animal activist group, People for The Ethical treatment of Animals, PETA disagrees.

"It still doesn't make any difference to any feeling human being what the species is," Kathy Gullerimo of PETA told ABC affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle.  "They all experience pain.  They all can suffer."

The billboards feature a picture of a little girl and a rat with the caption, "Who would you rather see live?"  But an FBR spokeswoman said they aren't meant to shock.

Instead, FBR Director of Media & Marketing Communications Liz Hodge said, the aim is "to get people to think where the benefits are coming from that we expect when we're sick."

The billboards are featured in five cities including Los Angeles, Seattle, Baltimore, Chicago and Portland, Oregon.  They will remain up until the beginning of May.  The group plans to put up another billboard in Madison, Wisconsin at the end of April. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio