Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ground zero ad controversy

I didn't expect the debate over the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero in New York to go away any time soon, but I was hoping it would carry on over there, well outside the world of advertising. But, no. After the anti-mosque crowd suffered the latest defeat because the Constitution can't be any clearer regarding the subject of governmental interference with religion, they've responded with ads.

According to The New York Post, something called the American Freedom Defense Initiative successfully sued to force the MTA to accept its ads. So New Yorkers will get to see a visual of one of the planes flying into the World Trade Center paired with a mock-up of the proposed mosque.

This is dividing people on religious and political grounds. The separation of church and state are only divided by 2 blocks in this instance, a space some say is too close given the circumstances. I won't wade into the debate of how important it is to allow religious freedoms; I will say that the ads themselves are in very poor taste and fuel negativity. However, for the same reasons a mosque should be allowed on any sight that is legally zoned for it, a citizen should be allowed to purchase ad time and air his grievances. I'm pro choice, but welcome pro life commercials as freedom of speech. Where I draw the line is when messages are poorly crafted and in extremely bad taste. Any ad professional who thinks it's acceptable to have an ad featuring a Sept 11 jet flying into the Twin towers should seriously consider another line of work.

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