It's one thing to use a creepy-gross poster to market a horror series online, but it's apparently quite another to take the same approach with billboards. FX's billboard for The Strain succeeded in getting people's attention, but it wasn't getting the right kind of attention, as complaints about the disturbing image of a worm working its way into (or out of) an eyeball yielded enough complaints to cause the network to take them down.
For reference, here's the problem-causing image:
And here it is in billboard form:
The eclipse-eye and slithering worm thing have been used in other promotional content for FX's upcoming outbreak horror-drama The Strain...
...but it's the billboards that seem to be drawing the biggest complaints from people who want to not have to look at that while trying to focus on the road-- or have their kids see it. According to Variety, an FX spokesman issued a statement announcing that they're "in the process of replacing the key art for The Strain on outdoor media in several locations."
Variety included a couple of tweets from people in the industry -- writer/director Nicholas Stoller and writer Kirsten Smith -- complaining about the ad. Here's Smith's:
Stoller's complaint was geared more toward parents with small children who might be too young to appreciate the disturbing imagery. Buzzfeed has even more complaint-tweets.
Obviously the ad is meant to be creepy/disturbing, but the series is not geared toward kids and there's no way parents would be able to shield their children from the sight of a worm burrowing itself into a bloodshot eyeball than to drive another route. And who wants to have to do that? So it's not only decent of FX to switch out the ads but probably smart, if it's drawing negative attention to the series, which has yet to air.
Created by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, based on a series of books, The Strain follows a team of scientists called upon to investigate a strange vampiric virus outbreak that's working its way through New York City. FX has The Strain set to air on Sunday, July 13. Check out the trailer for it here.