Titillating sign sparks debate

Source: Northern Daily Leader

It's a storm in a D-cup.

A busty billboard advertising an entertainment precinct in northern NSW has been causing jaws to drop and traffic to stop for the past month.

Two camps have emerged in the boob furore – those who say it’s just a bit of full-bosomed fun and those who claim it’s a sexist relic of 1970s-era advertising. 

Fairfax understands a number of complaints have been lodged by Tamworth businesses and residents who say the double-barrelled billboard for the entertainment quarter at Centrepoint, should be taken down.

On Brisbane St recently, 73-year-old Val Edmonds from Armidale said she wasn’t impressed with the “slutty” nature of the ad.

“It doesn’t bother me on the whole, but I really think there’s no need for that kind of thing these days,” Mrs Edmonds said.

Meanwhile, Michelle Bridge from Tamworth said she quite liked the ample advertisement, saying if its job was to grab people’s attention, it certainly worked.

“I’ve got a sense of humour about it. People take things a little bit too seriously these days. It’s certainly getting a lot of notice,” she said.

Owner of The Ritz restaurant, Marlene Manvell, whose branding appears on the billboard, said she wanted a bit of “wow factor”.

“I love it, and my husband Graham loves it too, of course,” Mrs Manvell laughed.

“We have pretty high ethics and morals and we don’t have a problem with it.”

Mrs Manvell said when the ad’s Tamworth designer, Marlon Dalton, put the idea in front of her, she liked it instantly but knew it might spark a bit of controversy.

“He said to us, ‘I want to put something a little different to you, something that will get people talking’,” Mrs Manvell said.

“I see so much boring advertising these days. Life’s too short, people need to chill out.”

Mr Dalton, who shot and designed the billboard, said the finished product was actually toned down from the MA15+ version he’d originally planned.

“The first one was a little lower-cut and there may have been some leather involved,” he said.

However, The Leader has heard the billboard’s days may be numbered, with a Centrepoint business leading the charge for the ad to be taken down.

“It’s a very clever ad, but it’s a bit tasteless,” a Strike Bowling Tamworth spokeswoman said.

“We have four-year-olds’ birthday parties here. It’s not really representative of our business.”

She said she was told an advertisement would be erected before Christmas but wasn’t made aware of the subject matter.

You’d think the men of Tamworth would be quite happy with the eye candy, but no – it seems some are also siding with the girls. “I don’t find it offensive, but there’s a time and place for it for sure,” 20-year-old Jake Hathaway of Tamworth said.

However, Tamworth’s Mark Smith laughed and said it was certainly very “eye-catching” and that he was more than happy to join the positive camp.

“I’m a mere man. Who doesn’t love a good pair?” Mr Smith said.

In fact, the owner of the, ahem, said “pair” has been the subject of the most debate, with Centrepoint owner Andrew Richardson saying he’s been asked the question several times.

“Everyone is trying to figure out whose breasts they are,” Mr Richardson said.

He laughed off suggestions the billboard was sexist, saying the point of all good advertising was to create debate.

“I thought it might get a few comments, but that’s the whole point of advertising,” he said.

But Mr Dalton said although his leading lady and friend would be thrilled to know her assets were creating such a storm, her identity will remain a secret.

Until the next saucy campaign.

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