The great billboard debate: Should it stay, or should it go?

New York News

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — A New York businesswoman is trying to get her new billboard advertisement put back up along Interstate 86 in Chemung County. It was removed last month by the billboard company for being “controversial.”

Brittany Braunstein’s family opened their first adult outlet back in 1964. Braunstein said her company Deluxe Distributors has been locally owned and operated since, and it has grown substantially. Yet, the stigma around their business is still there.

“There is a stigma in my business, an old school stigma,” Braunstein said. “As time has gone on, our businesses have evolved as well. We are mainstream. We want to break the stigma and normalize sex. Because sex is part of life,” she went on to say.

That is why Braunstein, who heads up marketing at Deluxe Distributors, decided it was time to update their advertising billboards. “I wanted something light and funny,” Braunstein said. “Something different for our industry, getting away from the stigma that does go along with our industry.”

Braunstein said she had the design vetted by different demographics. It was then approved by the company and installed along I-86 eastbound in Chemung County. A few days later, the billboard company, Park Outdoor Advertising of New York INC., removed it.  “They did have a condition,” Braunstein said. “That if it because a problem they would take it down. In my eyes, it wasn’t’ deemed an actual problem.”

Braunstein’s design before being removed I-86 last month

At issue, the pictures of an actual peach and eggplant. In digital communication, these fruits in emoji form, have sexual connotations. Braunstein said that was not her intention.

An online campaign to save the billboard quickly emerged on Facebook, along with a pop-up shop with supportive gear.

Park Outdoor Advertising issued the following statement to 18 News:


So, is that the end of this story? Not so! Braunstein said just this week, Park Outdoor approved an updated version of her billboard advertisement. The new one should be up next week, but without the peach and eggplant.

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