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Advertising mannequins draw students' attention

Waynesboro sixth-graders weigh in on controversy

March 31, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Summitview Elementary School sixth-graders took sides on a Waynesboro, Pa., issue. Students including, from left, Madi Bennage, Jenny Song and Cameron Bricker debated the use of mannequins in outdoor advertising.
By Jennifer Fitch

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — They’re too young to vote, drive or buy a bedroom suite, but some of the latest people to weigh in on a Waynesboro area controversy have strong opinions.

The opinions among Katy Avey’s sixth-graders at Summitview Elementary School were so strong, in fact, they lined up their desks and debated each other.

At issue are the attention-catching mannequins used by the Furniture Market on buildings, billboards and trucks in the community.

“The majority of the class wanted them to go,” said Cameron Bricker, 12.

The sixth-graders might be some of the youngest Waynesboro residents to offer thoughts on the now-named “Manni Quin” and his new wife, “Annie,” but they are far from the first.

Publicity about the Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors sending the Furniture Market certified letters to stop the practice took the discussion from local barbershops and online message boards to the national stage when the story was picked up by The Associated Press.

Furniture Market proprietor Harry Morningstar Jr. said he’s gotten calls, mainly from colleagues in the furniture industry, from across the country, especially after the matter was mentioned in USA Today.

“We’ve run a lot of advertisements and shouted at the top of our lungs, ‘La-Z-Boy recliners from just $299’ ... and we could not have gotten the attention this campaign has brought to us,” said Morningstar, whose showroom is on West Main Street.

The displays have been removed from Washington Township as a “show of support,” Morningstar said, but they remain in other municipalities.

Avey said much of her class got involved in the debate after they looked over media coverage together. Students wrote persuasive letters on the issue, and four of the children decided to pursue getting them published.

“Some of us felt strongly about this, so we wrote a letter,” Cameron said.

“I was for it, then I changed my side. I heard some of the reasons for them to stay and to go,” said Jenny Song, 12.

Madi Bennage, 11, said she feels the mannequins are appropriate if passengers don’t make a commotion and distract their vehicle’s driver when spotted.

“They’re really entertaining while you’re in the car,” Madi said.

Cameron said when he first encountered one of the mannequins, he thought it was a man preparing to jump to his death.

“It might cause distractions for the drivers. Sometimes it take the attention from the road,” Jenny said.

“I think everybody should know by now they’re not real,” Madi said.

Editor’s note: Here are some of the letters written by Summitview Elementary School sixth-graders about the Waynesboro mannequins. They appear as written.

Dear Reader,
I am a sixth-grade student at Summitview and my name is Madi Bennage. I would like to be on Henry (sic) M.’s side because I agree the mannequin should stay in its place because it gets alot of publicity for the Furniture Market. Also I think that if signs that hang up around our area don’t distract people while they are driving then why would a mannequin distract them? It takes three seconds to read a sign, then why should it not take three seconds to look at a mannequin? Those are some reasons why I think you should not take the mannequins down.
Your writer,
Madi Bennage

Dear reader,
Me and some of my classmates discussed and agreed that Mr. Morningstar should take down the mannequins around Waynesboro, 20 to be exact, and others, 5, disagree. I am sending this letter to express this. He will also probably be getting a petition, signed by the citizens of my neighborhood, from me stating the same thing. I think he should take them down because they are A BIG driving hazard. I have strong feelings about this because one day I thought that mannequin was a person ready to jump off a roof at the small mall at K-mart. I also noticed it was incorrect saying that the whole debate was started by “one sour apple” because clearly there is more than one person with strong feelings about this.
Sincerely,
Cameron Bricker
a concerned 6th grader and citizen

Dear Readers,
I disagree with Morningstar. I like the mannequins that are up around town, but it may get attention from drivers. It is a very good avertisement and a fun way to get people to look. But it may cause attention to the wronge people, for example, the drivers that are on the road. By looking at the mannequins and not focas on the road it may cause a crash/accidents. I hope you respect my opinion. That is why I disagree with Morningstar.
Sincerely,
Jenny Song from Summitview Elementary

To whom it may concern,
I agree with Morningstar, to keep the mannequins up, because I think it brings a smile to people’s faces when they drive by.
Amanda Baginski
6th grade

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