Since Virgin Radio bought out The Bear radio station (106.9 fm) a few weeks ago, they've blitzed the city with their 'Gods of Rock' advertising campaign, featuring the slogan, "Lock up your daughters, the gods of rock are now in Ottawa' accompanied by photographs of pregnant young women. It's received its fair share of criticism.
Carleton University master's student Laura Sparling championed the campaign to have the ads pulled, stating her position in a letter to the editor of the Ottawa Citizen:
The city bus shelter ad originally drew my attention because I suspected it was promoting a social support service, with the photograph of a pregnant and troubled young woman between the ages of 16 and 22. Imagine my shock when I read the caption: "Lock up your daughters; the Gods of Rock are now in Ottawa." Excuse me.Sparling also started a Facebook group called 'Demand that Virgin Radio Remove Sexist Advertisements' to put pressure on the new radio station to pull their ads (although I can't seem to find the Facebook group), and she organized an online petition, which has just under 500 signatures as of writing, to demonstrate how citizens felt about the issue.
While Virgin Radio attempts to create humour and irony by featuring ads of pregnant women, these ads are anything but funny. Through statements that openly promote female subjugation and condone the sexual objectification and ravaging of young women, this ad series sets the feminist struggle for ownership over our bodies and our choices back decades.
And apparently, the public pressure has worked. According to an article in the Citizen on Feb. 18, Virgin has voluntarily dropped their advertising campaign because, according to Pete Travers, program director at Virgin Radio Ottawa, "It was not our intention to offend anybody."
As recently as Monday, Feb. 23, there were still the ads on billboards on Sparks Street. Still, the decision by Virgin to pull the ads demonstrates that sometimes corporations will cave to public pressure.
What I want to know is how a radio station is going to impregnate my daughter.