WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
This second half of this story is where the $64,000 question lies
Here is the story—
A Black Lives Matter message was recently installed on a Lamar billboard next to a Confederate flag for traffic traveling into the small North Carolina town of Pittsboro, located 35 miles outside of Raleigh. According to an Associated Press report by HALELUYA HADERO (via Sinclair Broadcast Group’s local TV station 13, ABC affiliate WLOS)
The billboard was paid for via GoFundMe, by a group of community organizers Recidivism Reduction Educational Program Services (RREPS) and Emancipate NC for the space, as it succeeded in raising what was claimed the required $10,000 to cover the costs of the billboard. According to local FOX News 8, the group believes that the sign will be up for one year. Spokesperson Kerwin Pittman, who is a coordinator with Emancipate North Carolina, is quoted saying, “It only made sense to put a Black Lives Matter billboard right in front of this land.”
The Second Half
Here is where the $64,000 question lies —
According to the AP story, Sam White, the property owner where both flag pole and billboard are located, said he spoke to Lamar prior to the install of the billboard, and he claims to have made it clear to the Lamar representative, “They wanted to know how I would react to it, and I told them I would not want a Black Lives Matter sign on that billboard,” he said. “And if they did, there would be repercussions.”
White continued saying company representatives told him they would notify him before putting it up, but went ahead and did it anyway without telling him in advance.
One of our OOH colleagues who read the story shared, “This took some stones and wonder how far up the chain of command this went in Lamar.” Indeed we wonder as well.
Another OOH owner in empathy to Lamar suggested the following:
“The only way it makes sense is:
- It was a bad lease and they wanted to dump it anyway?
- They didn’t actually ask?
- They were going to lose the lease anyway?
- Lastly, they wanted to make a public statement?”
Land owner Sam White, is quoted as he wants the sign removed when Lamar’s lease expires at the end of August. We understand competitive OOH companies will be speaking with Mr. White very soon.
Is there a billboard owner out there who would make the same decision based on what has been reported above?
Would you go ahead and install the message in the face of the land owner telling you not to do so, knowing full well you may lose the lease and billboard?
If you believe the number 1 rule in OOH is to protect the inventory, did Lamar do the right thing?
Does Lamar’s moral stand outweigh the consequences of losing one billboard?
Scroll to the bottom to ‘leave a reply’ and tell us your thoughts. Want to stay anonymous? Don’t leave your real name or email address, but keep it professional or we may not approve the message.
A photo of the billboard and story from the AP writer can be found here⇒Black Lives Matter Billboard Next to Confederate Flag