Dubai: A media company has been asked by Dubai Municipality to remove its lamp post advertisements along Shaikh Zayed Road after receiving complaints from the public that they were offensive.
The adverts, around 30 in number, were part of a teaser campaign that started more than a week ago and bore phrases in Arabic and English that read "I am yours", "Buy me", "Talk to me", "I am available".
However, people complained that the content was suggestive and provocative, and the municipality took action and asked the company to remove them within 24 hours.
"We started receiving complaints the day before yesterday and immediately acted. People were very unhappy with the content and took strong offence following which we asked the company to remove the advertisements.
"The company cooperated in the investigations and they told us that there was no wrong intent behind the advertisements," said Dawood Al Hajiri, Director of Planning at the Municipality.
The company had placed the advertisements online and intended to sell space, he said.
Speaking to Gulf News, an official from the media company said: "It was supposed to be a teaser campaign and we intended to attract customers. There was no other intention behind it. We respect the sensibilities of people in this region and have already removed most of the adverts."
The campaign was started around two weeks ago, the official said. "It was not intended to hurt or offend anyone. We had sent the advertisements, just as we do routinely, for all the necessary approvals. However, we learnt that people did not find it positive and on being told we have, immediately started taking them off."
While the Municipality acted on public complaints, those in the advertising industry said that the content should have been scanned by the authorities prior to the approval.
"Teaser advertisements are quite common before a new launch. Usually the companies involved are very careful about the content, particularly in this region. If the company had obtained the approvals, the onus is with the authorities," an advertising professional said. The Municipality has been regulating advertising in the emirate and has clear rules, particularly related to content due to cultural sensitivities in the region. Offences can carry penalties.
"Those who violate the rules or fail to adhere to the orders can be penalised and face other actions too," said Al Hajiri. source:gulfnews.com