The company behind a new Atlantic City billboard is promoting a dating website for "sugar daddies," rich and usually older men who lavish gifts on young women in return for their favors.
"Hey Students. Need a summer job? Date a Sugar Daddy," states a billboard installed earlier this week outside a dry cleaning business on Atlantic Avenue.
The website is arrangementfinders.com, a subsidiary of Toronto-based Avid Life Media, whose other ventures include a dating site geared for married and potentially unfaithful people.
The company has courted controversy in other cities with its billboards, including one along Interstate 95 in Philadelphia removed earlier this year amid protests from clergy. That one stated, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," with the "not" crossed out.
A.J. Perkins, the firm's marketing officer, said the Atlantic City billboard is scheduled to be up until mid-September.
"Atlantic City is a very unique market. You get to capture New Jersey as a whole, New York City and Philadelphia without having to be in every single market in those cities," said Perkins, 35.
The website, which Perkins said has 2.1 million members, charges men as much as $79 per month for membership. Women pay no fee.
Perkins said the site caters to "mutually beneficial arrangements," but is not akin to prostitution.
"Prostitution is very transactional based - guys wanting X for Y dollar amount. These arrangements are more longer-term relationships. Generally these men and women are meeting up frequently - they have an agreement where they meet, whether it's certain bills are getting paid or a companionship thing," he said.
On billboards, the marketing campaign uses Bree Olson, a former porn star and previous mate of Charlie Sheen.
"We constantly get negative emails," Perkins said. "Our philosophy is for every negative reply you get, you get more men and women signing up for the site. It strikes a nerve. You're either for it or against it. I don't think there's a middle ground."
The billboard is moored to the outside of Manhattan Cleaners & Tailors, a longtime business in the area located near the foot of the Atlantic City Expressway.
Store owner Matt Ingegneri said he has heard no complaints yet about the billboard and said he has no concerns about its content.
Ingegneri said he owns the building and deals with a company that finds advertisements for the space. Another billboard was in its place previously.
"It's just a little income to help pay taxes," he said.
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