SBD/July 7, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

CFL Argos Alter Ad Campaign After Request From Toronto City Council Member

Argos ads appeared in Toronto Transit Commission subway cars and stations
The CFL Toronto Argonauts are “replacing a controversial ad for the team’s season home opener" after Toronto City Council member Michael Layton "complained it might be interpreted as encouraging domestic violence,” according to Tess Kalinowski of the TORONTO STAR. Posters appearing on Toronto Transit Commission subway cars and stations “show a picture of tough looking, tattooed” DE Ricky Foley with the words, “Home is where the heart is. It’s also where we hurt people.” Argos VP/Marketing & Communications David Bedford said that the team “decided late Monday to make the change after learning of a complaint” from Layton. Bedford said that “in the context of football the ads made sense.” But he added, “Even one complaint is something we take seriously and certainly something of that gravitas.” Kalinowski reports the ads “will be replaced in the next couple of days with new posters bearing the same art but new words: ‘It’s not the heat that makes them sweat’” (TORONTO STAR, 7/7). The CBC’s Jesilou Tongio reported the new ads will read “We’re not looking for passengers.” Layton “wrote a letter” to Argos President & CEO Bob Nicholson “explaining why he wanted the ad pulled.” Layton said, “While I understand the intended meaning, my concern is the unintended consequences. In the context of domestic violence, the ad insinuates that domestic violence in the home is acceptable or normal.” Bedford said, "We didn't look at it in the context of domestic violence and we probably should have, given that we've had a handful of complaints" (CBC.ca, 7/6).

MUCH ADO ABOUTH NOTHING: The NATIONAL POST’s Joe O’Connor wrote of the ad, “There is a football player wearing a football uniform selling football tickets to a football game, a home game, where the Toronto Argonauts will attempt to put the hurt on their opponents -- end of story.” O’Connor: “Touchdown! Team Political Correctness” (NATIONALPOST.com, 7/6).
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