Poles apart: divided views on local billboard posters

Posted on 13/05/2014 by



Advertising is designed to draw your attention, but the ad men must be rubbing their hands at the publicity two totally different billboard ads – one for camping equipment, the other for the European elections – has generated.

The ads – one for GO Outdoors, proclaiming ‘No Poles Required’, and the other for the UKIP political party were placed together on a site on West Granton Road late last month and it seems the stushie’s still simmering.

Local Forth councillors Steve Cardownie and Vicki Redpath both  took issue with the juxtaposition of the posters.

SNP councillor Steve Cardownie said : “It’s insensitive. People might think it’s funny, but that’s the kind of message UKIP are trying to get over. You would have thought somebody would have the presence of mind to realise that”.

“When it comes to questions of immigrant workers we have to be very careful. It’s unfortunate and I would urge the tent company to do what they can to repair matters as soon as possible – it’s too dangerous to be funny.”

Forth Labour councillor Vicki Redpath said “It’s probably a stupid mistake where someone hasn’t thought about the consequences, but all sorts of people could take offence”.

UKIP believe it’s a lot of fuss about nothing. A spokesperson said: “I do not believe people are getting upset – I think people will look at it with a wry smile. The posters are two completely different things juxtaposed in a wry way by accident.”

By accident or design? Clear Channel, the company responsible for posters, said they were put up at the same time. A spokesman added: “We can understand why people would make the connection, but at the same time one is for an election campaign on European bureaucracy and the other is an advert for camping supplies.”

Last week Barbara Robertson of the Granton Improvement Society wrote to Go Outdoors to demand that the ‘No Poles Required’ poster is removed. She said: “I am incensed by the advertising you have recently indulged in whereby the ‘No Poles Required’ poster has been displayed next to a UKIP poster in many places all over Britain. I demand that you remove these posters or be vilified as being part of a racist campaign”.
There has been no response so far.

However not everyone is getting hot and bothered over the billboards. One Newhaven man – who preferred not to be named – stopped when I was taking pictures. He said: “I pass these billboards on the way to work every day and to be honest I never usually notice them. It’s harmless enough and I think it’s quite funny. I don’t know what some people are getting all upset about. Will the publicity maybe make more people vote? I doubt it – now you’re having a laugh!”

An innocent little joke, a simple mistake or blatant racist provocation? Whatever your view, two weeks on the posters are still there …