A controversial advertising campaign for a gay bar in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan is causing controversy despite winning a regional advertising award.
Posters for Almaty gay bar Studio 69 show Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and Kazakh composer Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly kissing passionately and have been the subject of official complaints – though homosexuality has not been illegal in the country since 1998.
The poster campaign was designed by advertising firm Havas Worldwide Kazakhstan and is a play on the club’s location – on the corner of Kurmangazy and Pushkin streets in Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan’s Regional Department of Internal Affairs has accepted complaints about the advertising campaign despite it winning a bronze award at the Red Jolbors Fest advertising competition for the Central Asian region in the Outdoor Advertising category.
However one of the campaign’s creators took to social media to defend the campaign.
‘It is strange that advertisers believe that there are forbidden topics,’ copywriter Valery Volodin posted to Facebook, according to TengriNews.
'This work can make one proud. First of all because it works - people get the message and remember the address. Secondly, it is a bold work, and in the case of the gay movement, traditionally living on the edge, it is more than accurate and justified.
'The jury of Red Jolbors fest gave it only a bronze award, and who are we to judge the judges. Bigotry, get out!’
The advertising campaign would have been illegal in neighboring Russia and there have been calls for Kazakhstan to introduce its own laws banning so-called public ‘homosexual propaganda.’
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