March 15th, 2012
Many 1-800-GET-THIN freeway billboards disappear
By Stuart Pfeifer
Los Angeles Times
Advertisements for Lap-Band weight-loss surgery with that catchy telephone number, 1-800-GET-THIN, have quietly been pulled off roadside billboards across Southern California.
Billboard companies Clear Channel Outdoor Inc. and Lamar Advertising Co. confirmed that marketing firm 1-800-GET-THIN has let its contracts with them expire. If the ads do not return, it would mark the end to one of Southern California’s most aggressive medical advertising campaigns — one marked by controversy.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have expressed concern about the ad campaign and its affiliated surgery centers. The FDA said the ads violated federal law because they did not include adequate warnings about the surgery’s risks.