Comical Ads Pose Serious Questions In Springs

Colorado Springs may not be known for its liberal reputation, but one group is betting on the city’s sense of humor, and puppy dog named Norman.

Since mid-June, Norman, a brown and white puppy, has been appearing on television ads, radio spots, and t-shirts, mooing like a cow. The concept is meant to be a take on sexuality. Does Norman choose to moo or was he born to moo? Do gay people choose to be gay, or were they just born different?

At the end of the spots the audience is invited to go to BornDifferent.org, a website made to discuss the question.The advertising campaign is the brain child of a Public Interest Productions, a non-profit media agency that specializes in  making dull public service announcements look sexy…and in this case, cute.

“Anytime the discussion is about sexuality or gay rights people automatically turn to politics or religion….” says Born Different spokesperson Bobby Rauzon. “El Paso county, like it or not, is seen as a battleground over social issues. Its seen as a very contentious, polarizing place, and it doesn’t need to be. And that’s why Norman is-we think-such a help, to the county and to the Springs.”

According to Rauzon, that ads are operating on a $900,000 grant from the Gill Foundation, and were made exclusively for Colorado Springs.

“I’ve always believed, that in the Springs, there’s a silent majority of people who are open to different ideas about whether gay people are born gay or choose to be gay,” Rauzon continued. “I think they’ve been troubled trying to watch their home community get defined by a very vocal minority.”

Although the spots will be gone by mid-August, Rauzon says the campaign is a success because of media publicity and public attention to the issue.

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About the Author

Erin Rosa

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature.

Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state.

Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters.

She can be reached at erosa@coloradoindependent.com.

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