Clear Channel Outdoor, the world’s largest outdoor advertising firm reaching millions of consumers, has rejected two gay pride ads in its local Tampa Bay, Florida market. The ads were submitted by St. Pete Pride organizers.
One ad features a gay couple with the caption: “my family is FUN.” The second ad features a lesbian couple with the caption: “my family is FREE.” Both were intended to advertise the upcoming St. Petersburg Pride celebration happening on June 26. While Clear Channel Outdoor declined to run those two ads, the company did approve two additional pride related ads: One features a drag performer, with the caption: “my family is FIERCE” and a second features two dads sitting on the couch with their son, with the caption: “my family is FABULOUS & FEARLESS.
Click to enlarge the billboard ads
Accepted billboard ads
Rejected billboard ads
As reported by WTSP-TV in Tampa, “In an email to Clear Channel Outdoor, St. Pete Pride Executive Director Chris Rudisill wrote, ‘the images that were not selected do not contain anything that is sexual, immoral, illegal or otherwise offensive in nature.’
"’I'm almost certain that you have had billboards in the market which display men and women in both friendly and romantic ways,’ he continued. ‘I can't seem to understand where these images would be any different, except for the fact that they portray two men and two women, respectively.’”
Clear Channel Outdoor declined to explain its decision and issued this statement to local media.
"As a matter of policy we don't discuss creative decisions about signage," Tom O'Neill, the company's local vice president for real estate and public affairs, wrote to the St. Petersburg Times via e-mail. "We do think it's important to refute suggestions that CCO is not willing to display images of LGBT couples showing affection. Previous years' campaigns for St. Pete Pride prove that is not the case."
Rejection of the two ads has prompted St. Pete Pride to cancel its contracts with Clear Channel Outdoor.