advertisement that had provoked community concern was a soap opera
parody entitled "All My Toyotas." In the parody, a Toyota
salesman proves so conscientious, he promises a good deal even to
his evil twin. At the advertisement's conclusion, the dealer and
the evil twin receive a surprise visit from a third sibling. The
two brothers gasp in unison, "My God! We're triplets!"
and Stanger both felt that referring to "God" in the context
of a car commercial would alienate St. George's sizable LDS community.
Exodus 20:7 states, "You shall not take the name of the Lord
your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes
His name in vain."
I heard (the commercial) the day before it went on the air and I
didn't catch it," said Lon King of Four Kings Marketing, who
coordinates all of Stanger's advertising. "Then someone called
in and I said, you know, they're right."
and Stanger agreed that eliminating the religious reference would
be the most respectful course of action. But deleting the phrase
from the television and radio spots proved to be a bit complicated.
The commercials were not produced by Stanger or Four Kings Marketing
but by Saatchi and Saatchi, a Denver advertising firm that handles
all of Toyota 's radio and TV promotions. Stanger Toyota needed
permission to alter the Denver firm's "All My Toyotas"
series, which cost millions of dollars and had been running coast
to coast for over three months, concluding last week.
began writing and calling the firm. "We told them we were going
to pull their ad off all our media if they didn't change it,"
days Stanger secured authorization. King, then, took the television
ad to Charter Cable to be altered. The radio spot went to Bob Patterson
of Simmons Radio Group, the company that had been airing "All
My Toyotas" on KDXU, KSNN and KZHK, among others. Patterson
remixed the original commercial, eliminating the "My God."
Between the remix and copying expenses, Stanger estimates that the
alteration will cost him a few thousand dollars, but even at that
price, he says, the alterations are worth it.
to have one person upset about (the advertisement) is not good enough
for me because they're going to tell 50 others," Stanger said.
emphasizes that his 13-year relationship with Saatchi and Saatchi
has been a fruitful business partnership. But this is not the first
time the Denver firm's work has been deemed inappropriate for the
St. George community. In 1999 a Camry commercial that featured two
teens in a suggestive sexual situation was yanked at Stanger's request.
kids were kind of fondling, kind of doing, whatever," Stanger
said. "It had a sexual connotation. There's a lot of people
here that don't care for that."
nixed Camry commercial - and its recently re-edited "All My
Toyotas" campaign - have moved the company into the spotlight.
But the ad agency is only one of a growing number of companies that
have had alter their marketing in order to succeed in St. George.
That group includes Chili's Bar and Grill, which opened on Red Cliff
Drive to a warm reception, November 1995, only to be pressured into
changing its logo and renaming the restaurant "Chili's St.
George" in order to eliminate the label of "Bar."
The LDS Church discourages consumption of alcohol.
mom and pop shops have not been immune to similar pressures. Just
ask Lane Stromberg.
coming to St. George, Stromberg developed a series of successful
businesses along the West Coast. As the owner of fitness centers
and tanning salons in San Jose, Calif., he says he learned that
edgy advertising can spark a business, attract attention and distinguish
a company from competitors. But the entrepreneur was unprepared
for the reception he received when he brought that same edgy style
to Washington City.
December 1998 Stromberg opened a coffee shop and sports grill on
Telegraph Street, which he named St. Helen's of Washington. The
name honored his wife, Helen, while recalling the famous Mount St.
Helen's of Washington state. To market the coffee shop, Stromberg
and graphics designer Jim O'Connor created a logo with mountains,
silhouetted below the restaurant's name.
three months the logo was drawing heavy fire from area diners who
saw more than mountains in the icon - they saw a naked woman, with
lips, legs and a bared midriff. In the icon's two snow-capped mountains,
many saw lactating breasts.
logo is a silhouette of a woman lying on her back, and the snow-capped
volcanoes, subsequently, are her breasts," Stromberg confirms.
don't see anything offensive in it," he said. "It's kind
of catchy if you want to know the truth. We have a mountain out
in Hurricane called Molly's Nipple. St. Helen's is about halfway
between Dixie 's Rock and Molly's Nipple. That's part of the logo.
Kind of fun for us, but for some people, they don't have so much
St. Helen's owner says that, at first, he was pleased to have pricked
the conservative crowd. The hubbub over the logo got his coffee
house noticed. "I want to be controversial," Stromberg
said. "Controversy is good as long as it's good controversy."
in town, though, saw Stromberg's nude logo as "good controversy."
On April 21, 2000, when the advertising department at The Spectrum
realized the St. Helen's icon was less than innocent, they pulled
it, running a purely text advertisement for St. Helen's in its place.
When Stromberg complained, he and the department's directors struck
a deal - the logo could run once again, but only if it were altered
to obscure the silhouette's femininity. Stromberg called on designer
O'Connor to perform the alterations. The graphic was further touched
up by Kelly Campbell, senior graphic artist at The Spectrum.
at St. Helen's restaurant, half the kitchen staff wears the original,
sexualized logo on their t-shirts; the other half wears the new,
muted version with the mountains rearranged.
says presenting the newspaper with the original logo was a major
miscalculation by Stromberg. "Having lived here long enough
and having gone through the process of what people won't tolerate
in their local newspaper, this was a big mistake on his part - because
people will not go there," Campbell said. "Morality is
a big issue and concern for a lot of people, especially with the
Internet and people's homes and whatnot now, and they're fighting
it on a different level. They don't want this kind of stuff in their
view The Spectrum as their hometown, local newspaper," Campbell
said. "(They) don't want garbage in there, and that (original
ad) would be considered garbage."
rejects the idea that his logo causes so violent a reaction. He
calls his advertising "freedom of speech" and adds that
in PG-izing that speech, the paper is only looking to shield itself
so, says Brent Low, publisher of The Spectrum.
says that advertising clients are considered business partners,
and as partners, the paper is duty-bound to work with their best
interests at heart. If a client's current logo isn't going over
well with the community, ad agents are obligated to inform him and
work to improve it.
would be bad business partners," said Low, "if we didn't
come back to them and say, 'Hey, we're getting complaints on your
adds that in addition to making sure clients are hitting the right
cultural notes, The Spectrum has a second task: to see to it that
the paper itself acts in accordance with St. George community values.
publisher points to a handful of recent controversies, all of which
indicate the difficulty of reflecting the town's ethics. Among them:
the paper's decision to accept an ad for Thunder Down Under, a scantily
clad Australian dance troupe that performed in Mesquite. Some readers
objected that the ad was in poor taste. Others objected to a series
of "Men Seeking Men" and "Women Seeking Women"
that ran two years ago in the classifieds section. Low has since
discontinued the homosexual dating spots.
weren't right for the community," Low said.
publisher also revised the paper's liquor advertisement policy after
receiving complaints that alcohol ads ran on Sunday, the LDS Church
's Sabbath, and Monday, when papers are delivered to local schools
as part of the "Newspapers In Education" program. The
Spectrum's new policy forbids alcoholic advertisements on both of
and King make similar efforts in their work to keep their fingers
on "the pulse of the community," as King puts it. As to
their personal reactions to their own advertising, Stanger says
is for the public - it's not for me," he said. What is important,
says Stanger, is that he "reach the public in a positive, non-offensive
(an ad) is offending people, I want it off of there. You know advertising
is supposed to be positive, not negative. If you're going to create
a negative thing in a person's mind, your advertising is defeating
itself. You might as well not be spending the money."
for Stromberg, though his Washington business has sputtered at times,
especially during the summer
- which he says he wouldn't be able to make it through if he didn't
own the building - the coffee house owner maintains his conviction
that his advertising is a matter of free expression, not one of
propriety. He applauds the 10th Circuit Court decision which came
down last week, proclaiming alcohol advertising as freedom of speech,
a decision which for the first time allows him to put a neon Jack
Daniel's sign in his window.
only, he says, he could have that much freedom in advertising his
coffee house. He wanted "an icon for people to say, 'Oh, that's
a kind of catchy logo,'" but the culture in Dixie being what
it is, "we changed it around to try to suit (St. George), to
try to make everyone happy."
still imagines a move, then, to a city with less conservative citizens,
a place where he can pursue the edgier advertisements he used to
run. He moved to St. George because he loves the mountains and his
wrists ached during the northern chills. But he's thinking now he
can find both mountains and heat elsewhere, like in southern Colorado.
Washington coffee house is currently up for sale.
and Saatchi account supervisors Michelle Brown, who handles
Utah 's promotions, and Brannon Wait, who worked with King
on the Toyota account, refused to speak about the company's
"All My Toyotas" campaign. Management director Matt
O'Mara was unavailable for comment.