Smyrna bans religious, political, other messages

Certain messages on digital ads are banned by Smyrna on their bus shelters, including political and religious. (Courtesy of GRTA)

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Certain messages on digital ads are banned by Smyrna on their bus shelters, including political and religious. (Courtesy of GRTA)

The Smyrna City Council recently agreed 7-0 to hire Plainview Outdoor Advertising to replace the city’s bus shelters and ban several types of speech on digital ads for those shelters.

Restrictions by Smyrna on that advertising include:

  • no political viewpoints/speech
  • no religious beliefs/viewpoints
  • no physical violence against any person or animal that is obscene as defined by federal or state law
  • no message that is “untrue, misleading, deceptive or distorted”
  • no promotion of the use of guns, of birth control or of any tobacco product

More broadly, Smyrna “shall have the right to direct the removal of any advertising material displayed.”

Smyrna Community Relations Director Jennifer L. Bennett said in a March 3 email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that this statement from the city should be added: “Smyrna supports no political viewpoint; and therefore, no political speech may be placed on any shelters. There is a constitutional mandate for the separation of church and state; therefore, no advertisements espousing any religious belief or viewpoint will be permitted.”

Bennett added, “Pursuant to Plainview policy, Plainview shall not display any advertising that depicts physical violence against any person or animal, that is obscene as defined by federal or state law, that is untrue, misleading, deceptive, or distorted, or that explicitly or directly promotes or encourages the use of guns, birth control, or any tobacco product.”

Based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Plainview Outdoor Advertising has been awarded a 15-year contract with one five-year renewable option.

Plainview Outdoor Advertising will use a portion of the revenue share to replace a percentage of the existing shelters each year and provide weekly maintenance and digital advertising.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, that means the advertising revenue share will be:

  • Contract years 1 - 5 / minimum guarantee $67,200
  • Contract years 6 - 10 / minimum guarantee $70,560
  • Contract years 11 - 15 / minimum guarantee $74,088
  • Option years 1 - 5 / minimum guarantee $77,792

Plainview will be responsible for weekly trash pickup, quarterly pressure washing, general upkeep of the shelters and the surrounding area and repair and upkeep of all of its digitals.

Also, Plainview will assist Smyrna with the installation of new shelters at a rate of at least five per year until all Smyrna bus shelters have been replaced, with the design to be chosen by city officials.

After the initial five-year term, the payments from Plainview to Smyrna will increase automatically by 5% for each additional five-year period.

Information: smyrnaga.gov