Law Firm Billboard With Mannequin Causes Controversy

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A highway billboard featuring a mannequin hanging off the side is causing controversy among motorists and residents.

Mannequins are traditionally used in retail windows and displays to advertise products. It's hard to go shopping without seeing at least one mannequin decked out in clothes and accessories. But many people are surprised to learn that mannequins have other uses, as well, such as CPR training, presence simulation (e.g. make it appear that a home is occupied when no one is there), movie props and more. Now it appears that a law firm in Des Moines, Iowa has found another use for them: to distract passing motorists.

From the moment the billboard for Schreiber Law was put up, motorists began calling 911 to report what they thought was a person in danger. The billboard (shown in the image above) looks like a typical advertisement for a local law firm, saying "Car Accident? JustCallRon.com." But what makes this billboard different is its use of two mannequins, one of which appears to be dangling off the the narrow walkway.

"Anxious drivers dialed 911 after spotting what they thought was a suicidal person about to leap from the top of an Iowa billboard — but it turned out to be a mannequin ," wrote the New York Daily News. "Deputies rushed to the scene on U.S. Highway 61 near Sperry, in Des Moines County, on Tuesday after receiving several reports about the possible jumper ."

Of course, there's a good reason why the law firm choose to create such a unique billboard: it's a reference towards the Breaking Bad spinoff TV series Better Call Saul, in which the main character Saul Goodman, whom is also a lawyer by the way, climbs a billboard tower to rescue a dangling worker. In an interview with reports, Ronald Schreiber said the billboard idea was conceived by advertising agency SANDIA, and the mannequins are supposed to reflect his firm's willingness to help customers in times of need.

Schreiber further added that the mannequin-based billboard was not meant to cause a distraction, but instead aimed to generate attention. It's unclear is the local police will force the removal of the billboard, which is a very real possibility if it's deemed to be a dangerous distraction to drivers. Schreiber told reporters that he would willingly remove it if necessary.

Do you think this billboard should be taken down?

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  • George Blitzer
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