Of course, you’ve heard of (but certainly never used!) the website Ashley Madison, tagline “Life is short. Have an affair.” After all, it’s “the world’s leading married dating service for discreet encounters.” And of course you’ve heard of Newt Gingrich, Republican presidential contender, man about town, notable extramarital-affair admitter. Some might call this a match made in, if not heaven, somewhere marketers go to die. Because now there’s a giant billboard on Route 1 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, that says, along with a big ole picture of Gingrich making a “shush” sign: “Faithful Republican, Unfaithful Husband. Welcome to the Ashleymadison.com Era.”
This is, in fact, a pro-Newt ad. Ashley Madison’s founder Noel Biderman has released the following statement:
“Now that Newt is the leading contender in the race for the GOP nomination, we felt compelled to make a point to illustrate how times have changed when a serial divorcee/adulterer is capturing the hearts of the American people.
“Gingrich proves that marital fidelity has no bearing on someone’s ability to do a job. Rather than judge him, Americans have finally embraced the reality that affairs are commonplace, and perhaps paradoxically, might be an indication of great leadership to come. He is not the first nor last politician who will step outside of their marriage.”
Pennsylvania, notably, is the only state where new memberships to AshleyMadison.com didn’t go down this month. Congrats, Pennsylvania!
But, now that Newt says he won’t cheat anymore, is he less appealing as a spokesmodel? Truth in advertising, if not in politics, please.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 20, 2011