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Jean ads too saucy for TTC shelters

Fine for Montreal

Peter Kuitenbrouwer
National Post

The ad Mediacom banned from bus and streetcar shelters, saying the woman’s jeans were too low.

An ad for Parasuco Jeans that has blanketed Montreal and New York City is too steamy for Toronto, according to outdoor advertising company Mediacom Inc.

The agency said the woman in the photograph is wearing her jeans too low, and similarly risqu� shelter ads have been met with complaints from the public and city officials.

“Since December, 2000, Mediacom has had problems with [certain] ad campaigns,” Kim Warburton, director of marketing at Mediacom wrote on March 20 to Joseph Levy, president of Mediavation, the Montreal agency that wanted to place the Parasuco ad.

“One of these advertisements was for Diesel jeans, which included a back view of a male with his jeans lowered exposing part of his buttocks,” she wrote. “This ad created significant controversy in Toronto markets.

“The ad copy for Parasuco Jeans showed a female with jeans much lower than the Diesel ad. Given the recent controversy … and our need to ensure our municipal advertising contracts are not jeopardized, Mediacom made a decision not to post your original creative in the Toronto markets,” she wrote.

Mediacom owns 11,000 bus shelters in 40 cities across Canada under contracts that give municipalities the power to order the removal of an ad.

Mr. Levy said he was surprised Mediacom banned the Parasuco campaign.

“Why us?” he asked. “I didn’t know that Toronto was in the Bible belt,” he added.

He said Mediacom should let the community decide what is in good taste.

“I find it very strange that Mediacom on their own would make the decision,” he said. “Mediacom Montreal said, ‘If there’s a problem, we’ll pull it down.’ In Toronto they don’t want to upset the TTC [Toronto Transit Commission] and lose their contract; they didn’t want to p—- anybody off.”

Stephanie Gingras, of Parasuco, who created the ad using two Montreal models, said she was shocked at Mediacom’s reaction.

“We knew it was sexy but we always found it tasteful,” she said.

David Miller, a city councillor for High Park and a TTC commissioner, said his office has not received any complaints about clothing ads on bus shelters.

“I find people are very tolerant in Toronto, partly because we’re so diverse. People accept different views,” he said.