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Group says billboard companies rejected anti-Lilly ad

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Health advocacy group Breast Cancer Action said Wednesday its campaign against Eli Lilly and Co.’s animal growth hormone won’t be seen in Indianapolis after it couldn’t find a billboard company to carry the message.

The message, “Eli Lilly is making us sick. Tell them to stop,” was rejected by about 10 billboard companies in Indianapolis, said Angela Wall, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco-based not-for-profit.

Clear Channel Outdoor Advertising, Lamar Outdoor Advertising and CBS were among the companies that rebuffed the group, she said.

“Short of a face-to-face conversation with them, a billboard would be a way for us to have that virtual face-to-face conversation with" Lilly officials, she said.

Lilly markets Posilac, a recombinant bovine growth hormone—or rBGH—used to boost cows’ milk production. Breast Cancer Action contends the hormone has been linked to cancer in humans. Lilly acquired the rGBH business from St. Louis-based Monsanto in 2008 for $300 million.

Breast Cancer Action’s “Milking Cancer” campaign demands Lilly stop manufacturing the artificial hormone.

Joan Todd, a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical firm, said the hormone has proven to be safe. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its use in 1993.

“When we’ve offered to sit down with [Breast Cancer Action] and go over the science, they’ve rejected the opportunity,” Todd said.

Wall, with Breast Cancer Action, argued that they declined the opportunity because Lilly refused to “open the books” on the hormone.

Billboard companies, meanwhile, overwhelmingly declined its message because of it was “too political,” she said.

Officials of a few of the billboard companies Breast Cancer Action approached could not be immediately reached for comment.

But Bruce Bryant, president of locally based Promotus Advertising, understands their tentativeness.

“With a statement that broad, where it could be damaging to Lilly as a second party without factual evidence presented, could be inflammatory,” he said. “If you’re making a claim against another company, the facts have to be presented.”

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  1. With Pence running the ship good luck with a new government building on the site. He does everything on the cheap except unnecessary roads line a new beltway( like we need that). Things like state of the art office buildings and light rail will never be seen as an asset to these types. They don't get that these are the things that help a city prosper.

  2. Does the $100,000,000,000 include salaries for members of Congress?

  3. "But that doesn't change how the piece plays to most of the people who will see it." If it stands out so little during the day as you seem to suggest maybe most of the people who actually see it will be those present when it is dark enough to experience its full effects.

  4. That's the mentality of most retail marketers. In this case Leo was asked to build the brand. HHG then had a bad sales quarter and rather than stay the course, now want to go back to the schlock that Zimmerman provides (at a considerable cut in price.) And while HHG salesmen are, by far, the pushiest salesmen I have ever experienced, I believe they are NOT paid on commission. But that doesn't mean they aren't trained to be aggressive.

  5. The reason HHG's sales team hits you from the moment you walk through the door is the same reason car salesmen do the same thing: Commission. HHG's folks are paid by commission they and need to hit sales targets or get cut, while BB does not. The sales figures are aggressive, so turnover rate is high. Electronics are the largest commission earners along with non-needed warranties, service plans etc, known in the industry as 'cheese'. The wholesale base price is listed on the cryptic price tag in the string of numbers near the bar code. Know how to decipher it and you get things at cost, with little to no commission to the sales persons. Whether or not this is fair, is more of a moral question than a financial one.

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