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South Bend Ads Delayed (UPDATE)

May 12th, 2009

SECOND UPDATE: As of Wednesday May 13, 6:00 PM, the campaign has now received a response from Burkhart Advertising in South Bend.

A representative of the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign just spoke with Rob Miller, the Vice President of Burkhart Advertising, and got their response. Miller said that Burkhart approved our ad (the one saying “You can be good without God”) without having TRANSPO (the South Bend bus corporation) review it. Burkhart has an agreement with the bus company that TRANSPO must make the final decision on ads, however, so TRANSPO will be having a board meeting on Monday to review the ad and make a final decision. Miller said that if the ad is not approved by the board on Monday, they will refund our money.

The Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign was under the impression that our ad had been improved. It was, in fact, approved by Burkhart, and we paid in full and signed a contract with them. Even if our ads do go up after the board meeting on Monday, this would be after commencement and after President Obama’s address. We are very disappointed that Burkhart’s mistake has led to this delay, which will (at best) significantly decrease the effectiveness of our ads.

UPDATE: As of Wednesday May 13, 1:30 AM, the campaign has not received a response from Burkhart Advertising about the status of our ads. We just learned from a new Bloomington Herald-Times article (emphases ours):

When reached on Tuesday, TRANSPO General Manager Rick Brown said his agency never gave permission for the atheist ads. He said Burkhart Advertising is supposed to check with him about potentially controversial advertising before it is approved.

Brown said TRANSPOs nine-member board of directors would have considered the ads content and determined whether they were appropriate, had they known. He read about them in the newspaper Tuesday.

We have that in our contract with them. If there is anything controversial, they are supposed to run it past us, Brown said. Usually, the ads are the kind of stuff we dont have to worry about.

TRANSPOs board of directors is scheduled to meet Monday and will consider the ads.

In light of this, we will be contacting Burkhart and Transpo in the morning to verify all information.

Original post:

According to out signed contract with Burkhart (the advertising agency that handles bus ads for the South Bend bus company, Transpo), Monday, May 11 was supposed to be the starting date for our month-long bus ad campaign. Based on this, we and the American Humanist Association issued a press release announcing the beginning of the campaign.

Unfortunately, this announcement turns out to have been premature. Transpo didn’t manage get the ads mounted in time to meet the target date, but presumably they will be able to do so within the five day leeway permitted in our contract for putting up the ads. We are thus optimistic that buses displaying ads with the slogan You can be good without God will be on the streets of South Bend by the end of the week. We apologize for any inconvenience that this confusion may have caused.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Eric  |  May 15th, 2009 at 1:00 am

    Thanks for the updates!

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