Surprisingly, sex-toy company has trouble advertising on billboards in the South

Surprise
Trapped in our provincial New York life, we often miss important trends emerging elsewhere in the county. Like, for example, the rampant buying and selling of double-ended dildos relationship enhancers in Tennessee. The leader in the burgeoning category is a Mount Juliet, Tenn., company called Surprise Parties, which organizes Tupperware-style get-togethers for women. But rather than looking at plastic food containers, the women check out lingerie, lubricants and sex toys. The Nashville Scene explains: “The company wants to turn its senior management team, seven working mothers, into the Dr. Phils and Dr. Ruths of the sex-toy party circuit, which has become the new Tupperware.” There’s one problem, though: No outdoor ad firms in Nashville will take the company’s billboards. (The tagline on the ads is, “Stop faking it!”). Lamar and Viacom have both reportedly declined. Donna Wittrig, a Surprise Parties vp, sees that as hypocritical, particularly as one of Lamar’s clients is Hooters. “I don’t see any chicken wings on a Hooters billboard,” she says. “And we’re not selling breast augmentation. I mean, come on, what are we, Neanderthals?” A rep at Surprise Parties’ ad agency adds: “It’s bullshit, the hypocrisy of it all.” But he sees the value of the growing publicity. “The more they ban the Surprise Parties ads here, the better off we’ll be.” UPDATE: Surprise Parties has now released its own press release on the matter. And Ms. Wittrig responds to our post in comments.   

—Posted by Tim Nudd