Stepping On Toes

In the most diverse city in America, advertising is often a balancing act between persuasion and political correctness.
The Miller Group, Santa Monica, Calif., learned that the hard way recently when it launched a campaign for the Second Annual Los Angeles Dance Festival, sponsored by and benefitting the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. The cheeky posters and print ads featured such lines as “For two brief hours, L.A.’s cultural vacuum will stop sucking” and “We were going to put on a demolition derby but then we remembered: We’re gay.”
Some in town–and in the gay community–were not amused. But the most interesting call agency president Renee Miller received was from a patron of the arts who “informed us she had seen our posters and found them tasteless and cruel,” Miller said. “Most notably, she wondered how we could possibly link L.A. and its cultural scene to a vacuum.”
How, indeed. Nevertheless, the story has a happy ending. “I guess the nearly sold-out crowd at the event certainly wasn’t deterred by the work,” Miller concluded.