A controversial billboard in Los Angeles has been causing a stir on social media, and now the company is bringing the sign to Chicago.
The ad, featuring an enlisted American soldier and a Muslim woman in a loving embrace, is meant to showcase a throat spray to reduce snoring.
SnoreStop, a California-based company, claims the ad is part of a larger campaign for the product and is intended to portray the message, “if we can keep this couple together, we can keep anyone together.”
“I am super proud to be a part of this campaign,” said Paul Evans, the soldier featured in the billboard. “I’m aware of the controversy and, in fact, I am in the military to fight for this very right to express oneself in this country.”
Dubbed the #betogether campaign, the billboard is raising eyebrows and puzzling some.
Several people took to SnoreStop's Facebook to comment on the company’s latest ad.
“I am neither against this kind of partnership nor against the girl’s clothes,” said one customer on Facebook. “I was just absolutely clueless what this might have to do with the products of the company.”
“I like the diversity but… I also think this is in poor taste,” said another Facebook commenter. “I would think this would be offensive to Muslims… and what does this have to do with snoring?”
Others, however, applaud the company’s initiative.
“This is a beautiful message about inclusion and tolerance,” said one commenter. “Period.”
The company stands by its decision to run the ad.
“As a snoring solution company, we’re in the business of keeping people together,” Devemark said. “So we found the most polarized couple and thought, ‘If we can keep them together, we can keep anybody together.'"
Company officials said a real couple inspired the billboard portrait.
SnoreStop employee Christian de Rivel said he does not want to run from controversy.
“Snoring is an equal opportunity offender, SnoreStop is the equal opportunity provider,” he said. “There is no nudity or bigotry or hostility in our #betogether campaign. In fact, we are specifically and aggressively promoting diversity, equality and harmony.”