Overbrook billboard lures prospects for 'sugar daddies,' draws criticism
By David Conti
Published: Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Sure, the billboard features a former porn star pushing a dating site that seeks to match college students with “sugar daddies.”
At least the sign that went up Sunday on Route 88 in Overbrook doesn't make an overt reference to oral sex, like the site's spring billboard campaign in Chicago.
“We wanted to make it humorous,” said A.J. Perkins, chief marketing officer for ArrangementFinders.com, discussing the Bree Olson billboard that the dating site had to move twice in the Windy City because of blowback from building owners. “It was beyond the headache in terms of trying to keep it up there.”
ArrangementFinders' new ad still features Olson, an adult-industry celebrity whom Hollywood bad-boy Charlie Sheen once called his “goddess.” In this version, she's acting like she's putting on makeup, beside the words: “Hey Students, Need a Summer Job? Date a Sugar Daddy.”
Perkins said the Toronto-based company targets its marketing at cities with big college populations, which is how it picked Pittsburgh for its latest monthlong ad. The site looks to connect women, who get free access, to men who pay $49 to $79 a month so they can work out “mutually beneficial relationships.”
“I think it's a terrible message. I'd like to think that women and girls we deal with are well-equipped to make better choices,” said Amy Parker, executive director of Strong Women, Strong Girls Pittsburgh. The mentoring program has programs on five city university campuses.
“It preys on young women who are about to be potentially financially vulnerable and may not have gained the strength to see the danger in this,” she said.
Perkins said the sugar-daddy match-up appeals to a specific group of people looking for companionship.
“The site's not for everybody,” he said.
He said the site faced criticism as it advertised in other cities. Some say it borders on promoting prostitution, which Perkins denied.
“You're not paying x for y,” he said.
Cpl. Raymond Schafer of the state police vice squad at Troop B in Butler agreed.
“You can pay for companionship,” he said. “Until money exchanges for a sexual favor, that's when it becomes illegal.”
ArrangementFinders will evaluate after 30 days whether the billboard increased membership with exposure to an estimated 16,000 motorists who drive that stretch of road daily, and the Port Authority T line that runs by it. Perkins said the site had about 8,000 members living within a 25-mile radius of Pittsburgh and 2.1 million nationwide.
The advertising push won't likely include a visit by Olson, who has appeared at some of Pittsburgh's strip clubs.
“She's our face for these campaigns, but scheduling is nearly impossible,” Perkins said.
David Conti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5802 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fox Chapel Area superintendent seeks rapport with students
- Parking tickets in Downtown Pittsburgh spark outrage
- Ex-Sandusky lawyer investigated in divorce case
- Allegheny County Democrats endorse several incumbents in primary
- Western Pennsylvania organizations team to find housing for vets
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to hold annual public meeting March 26
- Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto set to meet with UPMC chief
- Suspect in East Liberty slayings may be part of murder-for-hire case
- Context key to 2nd trial of Pittsburgh police officers in Homewood man’s arrest
- Developer’s lawsuit sets up high stakes for Trust
- Postal Service pays $180K for unopened site