Texas Girl Not Elected Prom Queen Despite Roadside Billboard

Mom stands by extensive campaign for her daughter

Many Internet commenters have taken Tammy Day to task for putting up a pink, rotating billboard in Killeen, Texas, that shows the smiling face of her 18-year-old daughter and reads, "Vote Brandy Day for Prom Queen!" Brandy, who suffers from mild cerebral palsy, has incurred the added pain of teasing from her Harker Heights High School classmates (big surprise), and she failed to reach the final round in the prom-queen vote. Mom explains: "I look at it like it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make memories … and I wanted her to have the best moment possible during her last school year." Mother and daughter also put hundreds of fliers in the windows of local businesses, sought "sponsorships" from those merchants and asked friends, family and co-workers for contributions to the prom-queen effort, which cost about $1,000 all told. Criticizing Tammy Day for taking things too far would be too obvious and easy. In fact, I'd say she and her daughter acted in a perfectly reasonable fashion, given that we're bombarded with seemingly endless messages telling us that good looks, popularity and winning in general are what's "important" in life. That billboard's a mirror, reflecting a tacky media-saturated world where publicity campaigns are prescriptions for happiness, and the fleeting fame enjoyed by prom queens—or those appearing in popular films and TV shows—is viewed as a lasting achievement or dream come true.

@DaveGian davegia@hotmail.com David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.