Adult Advertisements Spark Controversy - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Adult Advertisements Spark Controversy during Spring Break

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Courtesy: Corey Austin Courtesy: Corey Austin

Young tourists are now invading Panama City Beach and so are the companies looking to attract their business.

However, some of the advertisements are also attracting some controversy.

"There's nothing left to the imagination. There's not a word on [the advertisement,] other than the brand, the children didn't recognize," Corey Austin, a mother of two young children, said.

Austin is concerned about a banner plane pulling an advertisement for Trojan Brand condoms. The slogan reads "Trojan, Real. Good. Sex." The company is advertising it's products to spring breakers on the beach and in the sky.

"I find it really irresponsible that [the company] would promote the activity and not the product," Austin said.

The plane carrying the banner occasionally flies over Austin's neighborhood in Panama City Beach. She said her young children recognize the work "sex" and ask questions. This starts conversations she and her family are not ready to have.

"The ten year old and I had to have a conversation about what the words said. He didn't ask what the product was. He asked why those words were there," Austin said.

It's a similar story at Hutchison Beach Elementary School, located near the beaches on Middle Beach Road. Principal Glenda Nouskhajian said planes fly over the playground while students are outdoors.

"It's not just the sign. It's the actual word itself, which is very difficult to explain when a kindergartner asks, as to a fifth grader who may already know," Nouskhajian said.

Nouskhajian said last year similar advertisements were flown. Teachers were able to divert attention away from those. However, the slogan now includes the word "sex," which makes conversations with students more awkward.

Mario Gisbert, Panama City Beach's City Manager, said the city has no control as to when or what companies advertise in the air. The Federal Aviation Administration controls and regulates Airplane Banner Advertising.

"There are some absolutely wonderful uses for the banner planes, but with freedom of speech means you can advertise at will," Gisbert said.

Gisbert said local companies pull advertisements such as Beach Warning Flags and the Leave No Trace Ordinance. He doesn't believe a local company is pulling Trojan's banner, though.

Austin said, regardless, a company who promotes responsibility among young adults should also be responsible in how they advertise.

"It's a one thing if you're flying up and down the beach only or you're putting a poster in [a club.] It's a completely different story when you fly over a neighborhood where children live and play," Austin said.

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