Along an otherwise humdrum stretch of road leading into Conception Bay South sit three 10-foot by 20-foot billboards plastered in large white letters with an apparent message of love.
“KR loves Sonia,” the signs declare, with “loves” denoted by a heart.
Who KR and Sonia are, however, remains a mystery.
“I want to be able to tell it, and I tried to get them to let me do it, but they won’t let me.” — Phil Quann
Billboard company Pattison is mum on details.
The Telegram asked St. John’s sales representative Phil Quann if there is indeed a person with the initials K.R. who loves someone named Sonia.
Quann said there’s more to the story than that – but he wouldn’t provide specifics, claiming the client doesn’t want to release any information.
“I wish I could tell you,” he said.
“I want to be able to tell it, and I tried to get them to let me do it, but they won’t let me.”
In speaking about the person behind the billboard request, Quann interchangeably referred to the person as “he” and “they,” though he told The Telegram he could not confirm K.R.’s gender.
Pattison’s Atlantic region general manager, Sherry Kirwin, confirmed the billboards are not a Pattison publicity stunt.
“It is real — somebody did contact us to book the space, and we helped them create the message,” she said.
“It is a real person reaching out to another real person.”
According to Quann’s estimates, that message is costing anywhere from $1,000 to $1,600 per board per month, and he said the three billboards have been erected since sometime in November. That means whoever is behind the billboards has likely already spent somewhere in the range of $10,000.
Quann said he’s never spoken directly with the person who is actually behind the billboards.
“I don’t even know his name, which is really funny because he has these billboards up — I don’t really get it,” Quann laughed.
“He had somebody call on his behalf to book the board, so I didn’t know anything about him. And at that time, the person that called about it said that they couldn’t release any information about it — it’s just a personal message for somebody.
“All I know is that he called me and said they wanted to put these specific words up on the board, and at the time when we booked it I didn’t even know if it was something that we were allowed to do.”
“He — or her, whoever it is — does not want to release what it is about.” — Quann
Quann said he called his boss, who said the company was fine with the message as long as it’s not hurting anyone.
Quann said he doubts K.R. will ever publicly reveal the story behind the billboards.
“He — or her, whoever it is — does not want to release what it is about.”
The Telegram asked if Sonia even knows this mysterious K.R. person.
“I don’t know, but I would assume … I hope so,” Quann laughed. “I feel like if they didn’t know this person, or if it was something that they didn’t want up there, then somebody would have called and asked me to take it down.”
The billboards will remain in place until the mystery client requests they be taken down, or until someone else books the space.
This is not the first love-themed billboard Pattison has erected.
“A few years ago, we actually had a personal ad go up on a billboard in Halifax,” said Kirwin. “Someone used a billboard similar to a personal ad in the paper, it was like a ‘single white female searching for,’ so that got a lot of attention.”
However, the Halifax billboard might have some competition with these K.R. loves Sonia billboards. Quann exhaled and laughed when asked how many people have contacted the company about them. He said the requests for information have been “numerous.”