19 Aug 2014
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Residents Say Billboard Has 'Got To Go'

A yellow billboard ad along Broadway with the tag, "Can't Pee?" has some residents peeved.

Residents Say Billboard Has 'Got To Go'

Residents just can't hold in their disdain for a billboard ad that recently popped up in Fair Lawn.

"Can't Pee?" probes the giant snappy yellow ad that's plainly visible when driving westbound on Broadway.

The billboard, located behind , invites sufferers of urinary retention to visit  www.iCantUrinate.com or call a 1-800 number for more information.

Visiting the web address takes you to a site for the Maywood-based New Jersey Center for Prostate Cancer and Urology.

George Bate, chair of the Property Maintenance Committee, expressed his concerns about the offending billboard at last week's Broadway Special Improvement District meeting.

"When I saw it," Bate said of the sign, whose picture he presented at the meeting," I was a little confused and dismayed. I said, 'Gee, I don't think this should be on Broadway.'"

Don Smartt, the committee's district administrator, said he was ambivalent about the ad, but could see why some people find it a less-than-effective appeal.

"I’m not sure it’s the most successful way to get their message across," said Smartt, who wasn't familiar with the ad until Bate brought it to his attention. "Urinary incontinence is a serious subject. And I’m not sure the billboard treats it in the manner that anyone experiencing the problem would appreciate."

The New Jersey Center for Prostate Cancer and Urology could not be reached for comment, but a representative from CBS, which owns the billboard, said it had no intention of taking the ad down.

"It’s an attention-seeking ad for a serious topic and it met with our standards, so we did take it," said Jodi Senese, the executive vice president of marketing at CBS Outdoor.

Senese said she hadn't heard any complaints about the sign, and called it "very not likely," that it would be pulled. Senese said she wasn't sure how long the ad would remain on display.

Assistant borough manager Jim Van Kruiningen said there isn't anything the borough can do about the billboard because it's privately owned.

Smartt echoed his sentiment, adding that nothing short of a barrage of convincing complaints would be likely to get the ad removed.

"If the buyer were to be convinced that the conveyance of this message were resulting in a negative, they may be disinclined to continue the campaign," he said. "If someone finds an objection to it, the advertiser has made it real simple to let them know by posting their number."

A call placed to the 1-800 hotline number posted on the billboard yielded the following propitious pre-recorded message:

"If you are suffering from frequent urination, decreased stream, interrupted sleep, pain, burning or sudden urges, we may have the solution for you.”

Unfortunately for fed up Fair Lawn residents, it doesn't appear they'll be getting relief any time soon.

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