Advertising adultery

In the middle of the Tiger Woods infidelity furore a website that sells adultery (“an affair to remember” in three months or your $249 back) has been trying to get a Toronto public transport company to run ads on its street cars urging: Life is short. Have an affair.”

What is worse, reading a Globe and Mail report carefully it seems that the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), which runs the trams, was on the verge of accepting the AshleyMadison ads when emails from the public started pouring in. City councillor Suzan Hall says, “There hasn’t been a single person emailing in to say they’re in support of this.”

AshleyMadison, a Toronto-based company, boasts five million members and its boss Noel Biderman claims that people are tolerant of affairs these days. Oh yes? That is not what Tiger Woods’ erstwhile sponsors seem to think. Nor what caused other adultery ads sold by the company to be taken down at the Super Bowl and in Times Square New York.

But it’s clear that the big money involved is very tempting to outfits like the TTC. Its advertising boss says he would accept AshleyMadison stuff if it was slightly more subtle (same message, mind you):

"If it were something that wasn't as in-your-face, wasn't as blatant, wasn't as direct, I don't know maybe used different imaging, then who knows?"

This is the same transport company that ran atheist bus ads in January, but had to pull a Virgin Radio ad showing a radio preparing to commit suicide by jumping onto railway tracks.

What would they draw the line at, I wonder, without public pressure? I think I can guess a couple of categories…


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