Smoke From Outback Billboard Prompts Calls to 911

Wood-burning grill looks a bit too real

Billboards are on fire these days. Metaphorically, at least. In Ohio, a children's hospital sign was removed for being blasphemous (or something), and two churches used billboards to debate sexual orientation about 60 feet closer to God. In Wisconsin, a Grim Reaper scythed Packers fans. Now, Outback Steakhouse brings the heat with a sign on I-85 in Norcross, Ga., touting its wood-fire grilled steaks. Several motorists called 911 to report that the billboard had caught fire. In fact, it was just an illusion generated by smoke machines—i.e., a blaze just as authentic as the Australian accents heard in the chain's commercials. Alas, the burning you'll feel inside after scarfing down an Outback Ribeye probably does merit a call to emergency services.

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.
Publish date: September 28, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT