Cougar billboard seen as a cheap shotComment on this story
Johannesburg - A controversial new billboard for the Cougar Life dating site is set to cause an uproar.
Perched above the N1 highway across the southbound lanes in Bryanston, between the William Nicol and Beyers Naudé off-ramps, the advert is bound to have motorists battling to keep their eyes on the road after its unveiling on Tuesday.
The main image is of a sexy ”single mom” sipping a cocktail alongside the punchline: “CougarLife.com… For Mother F***ers.”
The CougarLife.com location was chosen because it is close to the epicentre of what the brand deems is the cougar capital of Joburg – the upmarket suburb of Bryanston, where there are “three cougars for every cub”.
This is according to their website.
It also claims to have 17 800 members in Joburg – more than any city in the country.
CougarLife.com is an online dating service specifically for single moms, divorcees and singles. The site was launched last year and has 33 700 South African members.
When asked what the inspiration was for the billboard concept, a spokesperson replied: “The tagline appeals to the target market; the majority of cougars are single moms. And we thought it would be a good way to get their attention and make a splash.”
The website describes a cougar as a woman over 35 seeking or involved with a “cub”, – a man at least five years younger.
Brendan Seery, Independent Newspapers’ media and marketing editor, said: “This is typical ‘shyster advertising’: put up a controversial billboard in the sure knowledge that someone will complain. You then take it down – never having had a long-term contract for it in the first place – and play the injured party in a land of ‘conservative fuddy-duddies’. And we, the media, do the rest for you – like this.
“We write hectares of copy and you get many thousand times more exposure than you would have got for a comparatively cheap short-term billboard rental. And, being the media, we don’t question your figures.
“If you think you have seen this movie before, you have. It was called Ashley Madison (also an online dating site) and it was also a perfect example of how any kind of hype – as long as it is related to sex – is used by the media unquestioningly.”
Seery said the two dating websites claim a combined total of 200 000 members.
The website offers initial membership for free, but subscription rates come into effect after this, with no refunds.
“We do allow you to try out our website for FREE. That way you can be sure before you buy,” the site says, with payment scales after this not disclosed. - The Star