Manhunt’s New Ad Campaign: Settle Down, It’s Just Two Dudes Almost Kissing

You’ve probably heard that we’ve just launched Manhunt Mobile, our new uncensored version of Manhunt for your iPhone, Android, and iPad. You can see all of the Manhunt members near you (with an emphasis on “all of”).

Manhunt is celebrating our newest offering with a billboard campaign photographed by one of our favorite shutterbugs, Spain’s JP Santamaria. The hot shot we used features two models in a sexy but tasteful pose together.

We chose to debut the campaign in Los Angeles. The city that serves as the focal point of our highly sexualized film and television industry would surely be the perfect place to debut our ad. Right?

Not quite.

We received dozens of complaints about the campaign here at Manhunt HQ in Boston, as did our ad agency, Lamar Advertising. Citizens were reportedly concerned about children being able to view our billboards. One annoyed parent even wrote an online op-ed piece last week claiming that her complaints got our ads taken down (actually, our LA campaign expired as scheduled on 11/20/11).

In truth, we went out of our way to comply with regulations on advertising content and its proximity to certain areas. Here’s what a Lamar Advertising spokesman had to say about the controversy via e-mail:

Lamar has taken a unified stance in defending our right, and theirs [Manhunt], to advertise this business on our billboards, provided they are not within 500′ of schools, churches, playgrounds, etc.

When we originally placed the units, we used our restriction codes that we have in our system for alcohol, to make sure that we were placing Manhunt in appropriate locations. Beyond that, we spent all day yesterday auditing each one of their locations to make sure that we didn’t miss anything or that a school/pre-school hasn’t popped up recently near one of their boards. We found a couple locations that were down the street (within 500′) from a church, so we have scheduled a rotation to move these boards to a better location for Manhunt.

So Manhunt was within the letter of the law, AND went the extra mile to make sure our ad was appropriately placed.

The truth? All of this hubbub is over the fact that we depicted two men shirtless and semi-embracing.

Exhibit A:

– J. Harvey

To learn where THIS ad is located in Los Angeles, Follow the JUMP:

Yes, that is a picture of a female model putting her hand down her male counterpart’s underwear. The FRONT of his underwear. It’s an ad for fashion designer Michael Kors’ underwear line. And it was (or still is?) on a giant billboard just a few blocks away from the Manhunt ad.

Oh, and the OTHER pic on the billboard? Strategically angled nudity and dry(?)-humping!

Our ad has two guys with their faces close together. Their ad has the girl commencing a handjob on the dude. Which one would you say is more inappropriate?

No, we don’t have any evidence that there weren’t any complaints to Michael Kors, his ad agency, or to LA political officials. But we highly doubt that several media outlets approached them like they did us. Because, for some reason, gay sexuality is still scary and controversial for many people.

Aren’t there FAR more important things to be protesting against?

We encourage free and open discussion here on the Daily. Take the poll below. How do you feel about our controversial Manhunt Mobile ad campaign?

Addendum – Kelly Cole, the blogger who condemned our billboards, has written a follow-up piece. You can read it here. Thoughts?