Green Pharmaceuticals is savvy when it comes to creating buzz -- the California-based maker of a throat-spray for snoring treatment got a lot of attention when it paid a dude in Omaha more than $37,000 to temporarily tattoo an ad on his forehead. It also paid a Chicago man to run the New York marathon in pajamas boasting the name of its flagship product, SnoreStop.
Now Houston will be a beneficiary of its latest PR stunt: a company-described "controversial" billboard featuring a a U.S. soldier with his arm around his significant other, who happens to be a woman in a burqa. The tagline: "SnoreStop, keeping you together." The billboard debuted on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, and the company is eating up the supposed controversy.
"Dubbed the #betogether campaign, the billboard has generated some social media feedback from members of the military and the Muslim community in the first hours of the campaign," according to the company's press release. (The firm behind this campaign is apparently Los Angeles-based Pop Culture PR, which was behind the SugarDaddies.com campaign to rename Sugar Land. The firm's founder, Darren Shuster, told us he "can't reveal yet" where in Houston the SnoreStop billboard will be located.)
The release also quotes company spokesperson Melody Devemark as saying, "As a snoring solution company, we're in the business of keeping people together. So we found the most polarized couple and thought, 'If we can keep them together, we can keep anybody together.'"
The company claims the man and woman on the billboard are an actual couple whose relationship was helped by SnoreStop. Which is fucking preposterous.
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The press release also wears the bilious, xenophobic comments the company has allegedly received as a badge of honor, including "I guess she's supposed to be one of them peace-loving ones?" and "I'm not racist, but I feel like they're trying to shove this 'political correctness' thing down our throats."
The product itself -- a supposedly "natural homeopathic" remedy for problem snoring whose 15 percent alcohol content is listed as an "inactive" ingredient -- is basically an afterthought.
Company co-owner Christian de Rivel states in the release, "...we are specifically and aggressively promoting diversity, equality and harmony." De Rivel states in a video on the company's site that non-traditional couples who have struggled to overcome intolerance shouldn't be further burdened by the oppression of snoring.
We call bullshit. The company is aggressively promoting promoting, and they're doing a bang-up job. Heck, we're writing about them. We're certainly in favor of provocative ideas, and we understand the art of using inflammatory or hyperbolic language to convey a grander idea; but this kind of exploitation for medicine-show tonic is simply risible. But hey, the stunt worked. Congrats, Green Pharmaceuticals and Pop Culture PR. Mission accomplished.