"The Walking Dead" billboard has sparked a controversy, not because the picture but the placement. People blasted Clear Channel for putting it on the side of a funeral home in Consett, County Durham, U.K. which might upset grieving families.
Susan Jones, from the Willow Burn Hospice in nearby Lanchester, said, "Emotions can be pretty raw when people are recently bereaved. Words like 'death' and 'dead' can be very difficult," adding that "If you encounter this just as you are going to the funeral service to make arrangements for a loved one, it could be upsetting."
She admitted some people may see the funny side, "People of a certain age group could find it particularly challenging." She however believed, "There must be somewhere else they could put it that would have shown a degree of insight and sensitivity."
Web designer Greg Coltman, who is from the area, sounded a similar opinion. "At first I thought it was quite funny, but when I thought about it I realized some people could take offence," she claimed. A spokesman for the Co-operative Funeralcare was not into the billboard's placement as well. He stated, "It is disappointing that we were not consulted as this advert could cause unnecessary distress. When the billboard site was erected, we were assured that no insensitive adverts would be featured."
Councillor Owen Temple, who represents the Consett area on Durham County Council, agreed that "some will be amused, but others may be offended." But he did not take any action toward the display because he did not receive any official complaint.
Clear Channel, an advertising firm responsible for the billboard, has since released a statement to offer an apology. A spokesman for the company said, "Clear Channel apologizes for any offense caused by the unfortunate juxtaposition of this advertisement, which was certainly not intended. We arranged to have it removed right away and it has since come down."
In the U.S., "The Walking Dead" is currently waiting for season two. The first season was premiered on AMC and wrapped in December 2010.