A local car wash in Elgin, Illinois has come under fire recently for what some have deemed “controversial” advertising techniques. According to the sign, the Elgin Car Wash offers “The Best Hand Job In Town,” a claim that doesn’t have some residents as happy as one would think. Car wash owner Judith Colletti said that responses were mixed, some people got a kick out of it – but others did not. Responding to local complainants, a city-code officer paid Colletti a visit on Monday, asking her to remove the sign.
A 9-year veteran to the business and well-versed in the art of pithy advertising slogans, Colletti refused to change the sign. Seeking protection behind her first amendment right to free speech, city spokeswoman, Susan Olafson was quick to defuse the “constitutional right” arguments [which almost never ends well]. Said Olafson, “We fully support her First Amendment rights, but there’s a greater issue here…She’s using a double entendre that could leave a negative impression of her business and the city,” [right, because Chicago and it’s suburbs have such a Victorian sense of chastity they’re trying to preserve].
Don Craven, general counsel for the Illinois Press Association, admitted that he loved the sign, but that it did fall under “commercial speech”, a category with less constitutional protection than personal free speech.
Eventually, Colletti removed the marquee, but not because of city-pressure. Revealing possible plans to use the slogan for other promotional purposes, Colletti explained, “It’s part of my car wash lingo. I’m considering putting it on shirts [for my employees]…My sign is my sign, and we still live in America.”
[Source: Daily Herald]