Spoof Ad Rejected by Canadian Billboard Company

Atheist group claims human rights violations after changes were requested

The Centre for Inquiry Canada, an atheist group in Vancouver, is considering a human rights complaint against Pattison Outdoor after the billboard company refused to run its advertisements. The design of the billboard spoofs the popular religious signage “John 13:1” and depicts a smiling woman alongside “Jenn 13:1,” written in a biblical style, and “Praying won’t help. Doing will.” Below the groups name “The Centre for Inquiry Canada,” the ad reads, “Without God. We’re all good.”

The Centre for Inquiry Canada board member, Pat O’Brien said Pattison Outdoor told them the ads were unacceptable when the organization submitted them. “They didn’t really give us a good reason why they turned us down. In fact when we asked for some guidelines, they said they didn’t have any guidelines that they could give us,” said O’Brien. However, Randy Otto, president of Pattison Outdoor, said that they were confrontational (not good, God or not) from the beginning. He said his company has nothing against the ads or the organization.

“They took a stand which said, here it is, you run it as it is or we’ll take our ad and go away. And now they’re suggesting that taking their ad and going away is somehow a violation of their human rights,” said Otto. “I mean, I guess they can certainly do what they want.” To reflect company guidelines, changes to the ad were requested, Otto said. However, what changes were requested he did not know. With a market share of over 45 percent, Pattison Outdoor is Canada’s largest out-of-home advertising company, according to their Website.

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