Sunday, February 1, 2009

Letter to the Editor Re: Virgin Radio Ads

I have fired off the following "Letter to the Editor" of the Ottawa Citizen, with copies to management at Virgin Radio. I'll be curious to see (1) if it's published and (2) what response I get from Virgin, if any.

To: Letter Editor, Ottawa Citizen

To use the serious social problem of unwanted teenage pregnancy as a vehicle to promote a business as Virgin Radio has done is disrespectful and hurtful. This campaign is counter-productive to developing a comprehensive solution as it serves to stoke the baser predatory instincts of some men.

I am a male who enjoys hard rock music. This does not mean, however, that I will be whipped into a sexual frenzy by listening to the tunes played on Virgin Radio. I have more control than that, as should every one of us. To suggest otherwise is not only offensive, it is wrong.

The marketing moguls of Astral Media view this campaign as part of an effort that "...will build on its heritage to feature a re-energized rock format aimed at 25- to 54-year-old men." This campaign seeks to attract their target audience by, in part, legitimizing the portrayal of men as sexual predators. Unwanted teenage pregnancy as a result of irresponsible sexual behaviour is not a joke. It should not be used as a marketing tool.

I have written to the local management team at Virgin Radio asking them not only to remove the offensive ads, but also publicly state that they understand that they have trivialized a very serious social problem. I believe a public apology from them is in order. A campaign on their part that encouraged donations to our area women's shelters may be a good starting point. Perhaps then they could refocus their "heritage" as one built on social responsibility instead of exploitation of our societal ills. The true "Goddesses & Gods of Rock" do not demean others and instill fear. They inspire us! Virgin Radio should consider doing the same.

Yours truly,
Leonard Poole

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