Sports Authority ad upsetting to some

CNN

An interfaith prayer service was held Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012 in Newtown, CT. President Obama was one of those who spoke, he recited each child's name slain at Sandy Hook Elementary. He also said "These tragedies must end."

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by Diane Moca

GREENFIELD -- The retail chain Dick's Sporting Goods is suspending sales of military style assault weapons in light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, but its competitor Sports Authority did not appear to adjust an ad being called insensitive by some.

The flyer in the Sunday paper featured a picture of a rifle BB gun with a 500-round magazine on the front page.

Marquette University Advertising Professor James Pokrywazynski said he didn't expect a lot of companies to adjust their products after the shooting, as Skydance Productions did when it postponed the premiere of the new Tom Cruise movie about a sniper called "Jack Reacher."

"That movie's gonna come out. It's just a matter of time," noted the professor.

He said it would not be an easy decision for Sports Authority to change its plans for the ad supplement featuring the assault-type BB gun on sale for $29.99.

"The sunday paper insertion plan had been done probably weeks ago. It would be a big effort to pull these at that point. Not to say it can't be done," added Pokrywazynski.

Consumers like Cheryll Dondlinger think companies should respond, even if it means losing money.

"They could've pulled the whole flyer," she said. "That's pretty insensitive to have that on the front page."

Dondlinger was especially surprised Sports Authority kept its ad on its webpage this week, in the same form.

The professor said the chain may have tried to minimize negative reaction by placing the product in the back of the store and eliminating any prominent signs for the sale item.

"We're talking about a toy, not in the same realm of being an assault weapon," he explained.

CBS 58 found the plastic gun on sale at Sports Authority in Greenfield alongside other similar BB and paintball guns.

The store said customers must be at least 18 years old to buy it.

No one from Sports Authority responded to numerous requests for comments on the ad itself.

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