Mixed Signals In Mass. Media

Pity the poor Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Just as the former is poised to launch an ad campaign from Boston agency Geovision promoting abstinence from sexual activity, the latter starts handing out brochures containing the toll-free number of a racy chat line.
Complaints began pouring into the visitors bureau from tourists who dialed the number only to be connected to an Oregon-based phone sex line. A recording urges callers to use their credit cards to talk to “the naughtiest girls around.” Thousands of the brochures carry an old 1-800 number that now connects to the steamy phone service.
Meanwhile, the department of public health is taking heat for its upcoming abstinence campaign, intended to protect young people from AIDS and unwanted pregnancies. Conservative groups have charged that using $500,000 in public funds for advertising–rather than school programs–is an evil unto itself.
“Hot” or “hands off,” it seems the state just can’t win. –David Gianatasio