April 24, 2001 03:33pm
50 Newspapers Reject Risque Movie Ad
by: Randy Dotinga
Citing its overt sexuality, about 50 daily newspapers have rejected a risque ad for a new arthouse movie called "The Center of the World." The ad features a coyly nude woman about to enjoy a lollipop, with one leg strategically placed over her nether regions and the other stretched skyward. The unrated Wayne Wang film, which opened last week in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, tells the story of an Internet millionaire who hires a stripper to accompany him to Las Vegas.
Dailies in cities as diverse as Tucson, Ariz., Tulsa, Okla., and Charlotte, N.C., didn't like "the graphic images shown and what they implied," said Paul Pflug, a spokesman for the film's distributor, Artisan Entertainment. "Alternative weeklies ended up liking the ads, but they are much more edgy publications."
According to Artisan, several newspapers, including The Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle, agreed to run a second ad featuring a side profile of the high-heeled woman from the chest upward. The Los Angeles Times rejected both ads based on its "comprehensive set of standards," which are proprietary, said spokesman David Garcia.
However, the L.A. Times did run an ad after cropping the entire photo except the outstretched leg. The New York Times cut the graphic entirely and ran only the text part of the ad: "WARNING. SEX. Come closer. Enter." Later, it allowed an ad with an awkward-looking image of two legs and the face of a woman ready to lick ... an airbrushed something or other. (A postage stamp, perhaps?)
The New York Times declined to discuss the negotiations that resulted in the revised ads, but spokeswoman Kathy Park told E&P that the paper doesn't redesign questionable ads itself.