Billboard in Wisconsin Encourages Motorists to Cut (Out) the Cheese

September 26, 2011; Source: ABC News | Is PETA’s in-your-face media campaign style catching on? The Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a nonprofit, has declared something of a media war with the cheese industry by announcing that it will erect anti-cheese billboards in Wisconsin, the heart of cheese country. The billboard has a picture of the grim reaper wearing a “Cheesehead” foam hat and the slogan, “Warning: Cheese Can Sack Your Health. Fat. Cholesterol. Sodium.”

The physicians group calls cheese an “incredibly unhelpful food product” and “pretty toxic” in its statement cited here. Not exactly incendiary, but they have succeeded in their quest to get exposure by placing the billboard on the route leading to Lambeau Field, where the Green Bay Packers play and where thousands of fans wear the Cheesehead and consume deep-fried cheese curds and cheese soup.

Patrick Geoghegan of Wisconsin’s Milk Marketing Board is not amused by the simple but well-located campaign, calling PCRM a “vegan front group.” He adds, “They are taking a page out of PETA’s book on this. They are trying to shock people,” says “People have been eating cheese for thousands of years…Many cheeses are an excellent source of calcium and a source of high-quality protein and phosphorus. It tastes great. We should enjoy it.”

It seems to us here at NPQ that this group has gotten more than their money’s worth ($3,500) of publicity out of this billboard already, especially since the billboard has not even gone up yet.—Ruth McCambridge