Outdoor advertising specialist JCDecaux is seeking to distance itself from a contentious abortion referendum in Ireland by refusing to host billboards conveying campaign messages from either side of the debate.
With emotions running high in the country, the display specialists have imposed an outright ban on any material associated with either pro-choice or anti-abortion campaigners in a bid to avoid alienating a large swathe of the population.
This follows prior incidents in which social media campaigns orchestrated against the advertiser saw it targeted by activists who destroyed and defaced billboards associated with previous abortion campaigns.
Far from appeasing both sides, however, the move has angered anti-abortion group Family and Life, which deplored the ‘grim news’, warning that it would impede their ability to push their argument to the public.
David Manly, the director of Family and Life, commented: “This is a huge setback for us with the Eighth Amendment referendum just months away. Outdoor advertising is one of the few advertising channels available to us and one of our most crucial types of campaign messaging. This could not have happened at a worse time as politicians decide what form the referendum will take, and what stance they will take.”
Abortion has long been a contentious issue for advertisers and society with the city of Chicago recently enraged by an anti-abortion ad depicting former US president Barack Obama.