Parents In A Pickle Over "Vegetable Abuse" Billboard - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Parents In A Pickle Over "Vegetable Abuse" Billboard

Adult novelty shop's billboard appears on I-35 in Dallas



    A billboard for stores that sell items with adult themes is sparking huge controversy. (Published Monday, Feb. 15, 2010)

    The billboard with the cartoon cucumber on I-35 isn't an ad for a new "Veggie Tales" DVD for the kids. Actually, the billboard with the message "Stop Vegetable Abuse" comes from the owners of shops that sell lingerie and adult novelties.

    At least one parent called the billboard highly offensive.

    Rebecca Blake spotted the billboard one Sunday as she headed to church with four teenagers in the back of her car. Stunned by the seemingly harmless billboard, Blake e-mailed NBCDFW.

    "We saw a big billboard with a cucumber on it and a face and it said 'Stop vegetable abuse,'" she said. "My daughter Sara said, 'What's that? Stop vegetable abuse?'"

    Beneath the frowning cartoon cucumber were two web addresses, and, both shops that sell lingerie and adult novelties.

    For Blake, the PG image of a cucumber took on a rated-R meaning.

    "For them to have to be exposed to something like that in a very public place is just uncalled for and offensive," said Blake.

    Gary Krupkin, Senior Vice-President and General Counsel of Condoms To Go and Sara's Secret, doesn't believe the ad is offensive.

    Krupkin said their television, print, and billboard advertisements are seen by focus groups and independent consultants to make sure the messages they are sending out is provocative but does not cross the line. 

    Krupkin admits the company has fielded dozens of complaints since the billboard went up, but at the same time sales at their nearest store tripled the day after it went up.

    Krupkin said they want their advertisements to be entertaining, edgy and memorable.

    "It would be a okay in a magazine," said Blake. "I could choose not to buy that magazine, but I can't choose not to see that billboard."

    Blake said the billboard demeans the Christian values she teaches her children. She wants to billboard removed.

    Krupkin has no plans to remove it.

    "Our billboard is certainly not as graphic as a lot of billboards I've seen advertise gentlemen's clubs," he said.


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