USI Wireless launches then unlaunches ad campaign that compares Wi-Fi to a prostitute

photo by @wentrogue

I first caught wind of this yesterday at the L’Etoile site which featured Vanessa Messersmith’s photo of the USI Wireless (USIW) billboard along with the comment “Thanks USI Wireless for being just like a prostitute.” In an email conversation, Vanessa elaborated a bit:

The woman is dressed in classic Hollywood street corner girl clothing. She is wearing a fur coat, has her head tilted, almost like chewing gum, and she appears like a sexy dumb girl. If not a prostitute, then perhaps a small town trashy girl. Either way you look at it, my friend and I were shocked and offended. How else am I suppose to interpret this ad?

Well Vanessa, according to a post over at the Minneapolis Issues Forum, this ad and the accompanying campaign “test-marketed to 100% approval” somewhere. But even with those great test market scores, USIW will be pulling the ads down this week. Councilmembers Elizabeth Glidden and Gary Schiff both contacted the company on the matter. So far, however, I haven’t seen an official USIW apology on this matter.

In the post at the Issues Forum, Stacey Burns does an excellent job explaining why this ad is particularly demeaning in our city. I will just add that beyond the prostitution issue, this ad is just plain offensive particularly to women. I hope USIW understands this.

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