Billboard Jungle: Chicago Divorce Ad Comes Down

Lawyer defends her sign; local pol orders sign be taken down.

ByABC News
May 9, 2007, 7:10 AM

May 9, 2007 — -- The woman behind the nation's most controversial divorce billboard defended herself and her ad Tuesday night in an interview with ABC News, while across town a politician on his last day in office ordered that the sign be taken down because of a lack of a permit.

The ad, a 20-foot-high billboard reading "Life is Short. Get a Divorce," sparked a viscerally negative reaction from lawyers, marriage counselors and the public. It seemed everybody had something to say about the sign perched above a trendy Chicago neighborhood -- even the ladies from the "The View" sounded off on the sign.

Corri Fetman, a partner at Fetman, Garland & Associates, the law firm advertised on the sign, is still bemused by the buzz.

"No one's going to go outside, see a billboard and say, 'Oh my God, you know, I'm going home and having a divorce," Fetman told ABC News' senior Law & Justice correspondent Jim Avila on "Good Morning America'' Tuesday.

Fetman said the sign was "supposed to be lighthearted. It's supposed to be thought provoking, and it's supposed to not be boring like law firm advertising is. It sends a message -- that's what advertising does. Advertising sends a message and gets your name out there. And we've done both."

"We are absolutely not trivializing [marriage]," Fetman said.

Fetman acknowledged that the billboard had been placed above an area of pricey bars and restaurants known as the "Gold Coast," where younger women are known to go to meet older, affluent men.

"When you're out partying, you're escaping. You're escaping from reality. What are you going to do when you escape from reality? You're going to talk to your friends about your problems. You're going to say, 'Hey, I'm not happy. Here's what's going on.'"

She said the ad was "no different from any motivational book that says live your best life."

But not everyone saw it in such a positive light. Fetman said she had received death threats and voice mails calling her Satan.

"That serious? They want to kill you," Avila asked her.

"Yes!" she said, giggling. "Me!"