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Ad catches students with their pants down

by The Concordian November 8, 2011
An advertisement erroneously placed in a women’s bathroom on the Loyola campus and claiming that “men laugh longer, louder, and more often than women” has been removed, but not before its placement raised questions about how and why it found its way there.
The ad was originally placed in one of UB Media’s frames located in the lower level women’s restroom of the CJ building. It turns out that the ad was placed there by mistake, and that its message may not be true.
According to Ron Deschênes, director of business development at UB Media, the ad should not have been on campus at all. It was meant for UB Media’s bar venues. Concordia was also unaware of the error.
UB Media installs frames in their venues and sells the space to advertisers. When a space is not sold it remains empty. This ad, along with others such as “Women have a slightly higher average IQ than men” and “The average person spends three years of their life in a washroom,” were part of the company’s Fun Facts campaign, which consists of neutral content ads to fill empty frames. These ads do not advertise anything and are mainly decorative since they do not provide any revenue.
When asked where the facts in the campaign came from, Deschênes responded that they came from an Internet site, and that upon further review, he “didn’t see any background sources.”
The Concordian notified Deschênes of the mistake on Oct. 12. The ad was removed within two days. Deschênes apologized for the mistake on behalf of UB Media. He said that a full inventory was also conducted over those two days to make sure there were no other misplaced ads.
“We try to bring an approach to our business model that respects our venue and their aims as well,” he said. “We don’t want to impede on what our venues are trying to accomplish.”
According to their website, restroom ads are “inescapable media, targeting captive audiences.” Location is also crucial for targeted advertising. For example, the ad with the man laughing was meant for a men’s restroom.
UB Media works with bars, restaurants, cinemas, and more recently, universities. These include Université de Montréal, McGill University, and Concordia.
UB Media’s presence on campus began last year as a consortium of media companies interested in using the university’s advertisement space. After issuing a request for proposals, the university chose three companies: Rouge Media, UB Media, and MU Media.
According to university spokesperson Chris Mota, the university set its terms for what it wanted in exchange for UB Media’s use of campus space. A significant amount of frames are available for internal campaigns.
According to Mota, anyone who has an issue with a particular ad is encouraged to let the university know. Marie-Josée Allard, director of Hospitality Concordia, said that to date she has not received any complaints about the ads.
All ads must adhere to the university’s ad guidelines, Mota said. Alcohol, tobacco, gambling or drug ads are not approved, neither are ads that are dishonest or misleading or those that promote a political party. An ad cannot imply that the university endorses a product. Ads are reviewed before they go up.
While most Concordia students were unaware of the misplaced ad at Loyola, Deschênes said UB Media wants to make sure that it doesn’t happen again in the future. They are now looking to find a new neutral campaign to fill unsold spaces.
“If someone from the student body has an idea that would fit into [the neutral content] model, we are willing to hear a good idea,” he said.

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