NEW YORK (AP) — A clothing company has put up a billboard in New York City’s Times Square that depicts President Donald Trump being hog-tied by a woman clad in its athletic wear.
The 30-foot-high billboard featuring a model binding a Trump look-alike with red, white and blue rope while stomping on his face, was put up Tuesday as part of an advertising campaign by Dhvani, a Portland-based clothing company.
Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr, tweaked the media Friday for not writing about the billboard sooner.
“Since you had time to thoroughly cover a stupid and tasteless meme seen by 8 people with incredible outrage, I figured you should dedicate the same time and outrage to this billboard in Times Square you hypocrites,” he said in a tweet.
Trump Jr. was referring to news coverage of a parody video, played during a conference at Trump’s Miami golf resort, depicting a caricature of Trump murdering members of the news media and other critics.
CEO of Dhvani Avi Brown told The Associated Press the billboard was intended to be a comment on the Trump administration’s changes to the Title X family planning program blocking federal funding for health providers who refer patients for abortions.
“We’re choosing as a brand to stand for something,” said Brown. “It’s a fashion photo shoot. We are showing models wearing our apparel, but we’re contextualizing it by making a statement.”
Other ads in the campaign show models taping over Trump’s mouth.
“He unilaterally has created a gag rule that you cannot refer patients with reproductive information about abortion, sex ed, and contraception,” Brown said. “He’s gagging doctors and nurses, and telling them what they can and cannot tell patients.”
According to Dhvani, the model in the billboard, Michal Mesa, is a Marine Corps veteran and middle school teacher.
Due to the ad’s violent nature, there was some back and forth between Dhvani and Lamar Advertising, the agency that operates the billboard.
“We absolutely don’t condone violence in any way, but that’s what those images reflect,” said Brown. “Those images are symbolic. We believe they reflect how the majority of this country is feeling and what the majority of women are feeling.”
“The client wanted to use a photo of the President but we said no,” said Lamar Advertising’s digital marketing coordinator, GraceAnn Woolf. The company insisted on a look-alike instead.
The billboard is scheduled to stay up through the end of the year in Times Square. An estimated 300,000 people pass through the square every day.
“No question, this is creative expression and storytelling,” said Brown. “I think all marketing is storytelling if it’s done well and the one we want to tell has meaning to us.”
Brown said there’s been an increase of traffic to the company’s website, along with an increase in sales, since the billboard went up. It’s the first of what Dhvani said will be many campaigns to support and donate to progressive causes through part of sales. The company, which has been around for only about a year, designs and ships its clothing from Portland.
This article includes contributions by Lisa Balick, KOIN 6 News.
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