Close to a dozen pastors, reverends and bishops crowded the entrance to the Steen Outdoor Advertising building in Southwest Philly on Tuesday to protest a billboard that makes a cheeky edit to the 7th Commandment.
"Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery," reads the I-95 ad for an online adult sugar daddy-mistress matching service, with the "Not" artfully crossed out.
Debra Hamilton, head of sales and marketing at Steen, said her company is just as upset as the demonstrators and that it can't review the content of the hundreds of contract ads they run.
"We were led to believe they were some kind of social networking dating site," she said, calling Steen a "family company."
A.J. Perkins, a marketing rep at arrangementfinders.com, finds that hard to believe.
"They actually own the sign, they approve what goes up," he said. "Otherwise, it would have been a lot more risque, trust me."
Perkins notes that the Toronto-based site is "family friendly," but his definition refers only to the fact that outright nudity is prohibited. The home page greets visitors with shapely lingerie-clad legs framing a would-be paying customer and the tagline, "Intimacy with a Twi$t."
A group of Port Richmond third-graders from nearby St. George Catholic School already protested the sign last week.
Philadelphia Unification Church Pastor Crescentia DeGoede said her group gave the company notice they were going to hold a protest of their own three days ago, after Steen representatives refused to meet with area religious leaders.
"They don't have to use [arrangementfinders]," said DeGoede. "They can do business with anybody."
The sign's four-week lease ends in a few days and Hamilton said they don't plan on renewing it. Church leaders said they aren't convinced and had previously been told by Steen that the company couldn't guarantee a similar sign wouldn't go back up later.
Perkins couldn't speak to the future of the sign, but said its efficacy was assured by a 600 percent increase in members from the area sign-ups in the past few weeks.