Saturday, November 14, 2009

PosterChild's New York Sunsets

PosterChild is wrapping up an extended stay in New York and he is busier than ever bringing us creative content. PosterChild is a good friend and I love his work so I say this with the utmost respect, revealing the process often helps grab peoples attention but the tape used to hold these images to the advertisements bothers me.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

NPA Updates Their Lame Attempt To Circumvent The Permitting Process

The above image shows the newest version of the contest promotion placards placed on all NPA Outdoor illegal advertising locations in NYC. I'm not a lawyer, but I'm assuming they are doing this to convert these signs from illegal third party signs into legal first party signs. By this logic, the posters on the giant billboards are not advertisements but merely a display of goods available inside. In this case, La Casa Del Pan (The House Of Bread) is now in the business of giving away free adverts and allowing you to enroll in contests in which you can win more adverts. For this service, they are paid $50.00 a month by NPA. Amazing!

Now this is just shameful subversion of the law and I don't think it really holds water. One would have to be able to argue that the advertising posters are an actual good or service being provided, (by La Casa Del Pan) and not just some obscene ruse cooked up by well paid lawyers and greedy outdoor advertising corporations to outsmart the city.

The one nice thing about this new system is that it makes gathering the exact addresses where permits should, but don't, exist for all NPA Outdoor illegal signage. For example at 3802 Broadway Avenue in Queens, of the six permits shown the Department of Buildings website, no permits for advertising signage exist.

Oddly enough the Google Maps Streetview doesn't show an NPA sign. Must have been put up very recently.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Infrastructure as Advertisement


I have an architecture friend who follows BLDG blog at least close enough to send me related posts once in a while. Their recent comment on the renaming of the Atlantic/Pacific station in Brooklyn to the Barclays station is well worth the read. Quite understandably, the post talks about the absurdly cheap price this station was sold for, something we also commented on a few days ago after reading the New York Times article.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jake Price Image from NYSAT Project

photo by Jake Price

Just came across this getting some documentation together for the NYSAT project. Thought it a nice image to look at.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

NYC Building Code - NPA City Outdoor

Looks like someone else isn't all that happy with NPA City Outdoor either. In fact the reader seems to think the recent NPA ploy to turn their illegal third party signs into legal first party signs doesn't hold up when you look at the building code and definitions of what an OAC (Outdoor Advertising Company) is. Indicting the company on several counts of unlawful activity and operation procedures, they write...

I have extensive knowledge with the building code and zoning resolution of NYC.
NPA signs are highly illegal and most probably do not have permits. I've even seen some of the signs on fully residential buildings.

In Title 26, Subchapter 4 of the NYC Building Code, the law states that a permit is required for any outdoor signs greater than 6 square feet, especially advertising signs. I am almost positive that about 90% of their signs do not have permits. Additionally, anyone in the outdoor advertising business is required to register as an OAC (Outdoor Advertising Company): §49-11 Effective dates. (a) On and after the 60th day after the effective date of this chapter, it shall be unlawful for an OAC to engage in the outdoor advertising business, or, by way of advertising, promotions or other methods, hold itself out as engaging in the outdoor advertising business, unless such OAC is registered with and has been issued a registration number by the Department and such registration has not expired or been revoked.

The paragraph below states the definitions of what it is to be an outdoor advertiser:
§26-259 Definitions – b) The term “outdoor advertising company” means a person, corporation, partnership or other business entity that as a part of the regular conduct of its business engages in or by way of advertising, promotions or other methods, holds itself out as engaging in the outdoor advertising business. Such term shall not include the owner or manager of a building or premises who markets space on such building or premises directly to advertisers. (THEY STILL CAN’T HIDE UNDER THE PROMOTIONS/RAFFLE TICKET GARBAGE THAT THEY ARE TRYING TO)
c) The term “outdoor advertising business” means the business of selling, leasing, marketing, managing or otherwise either directly or indirectly making space on signs situated on building and premises within the city of NY available to others for advertising purposes.

This paragraph shows the penalties that should be enforced:
§26-262 Criminal and civil penalties for violations by outdoor advertising companies; other enforcement: a (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an outdoor advertising company shall be liable for a civil penalty if a sign under its control has been erected, maintained, attached, affixed, painted on, or in any other manner represented on a building or premises in violation of any provision of the zoning resolution, administrative code or rules adopted pursuant thereto relating to signs.
(2) It shall be unlawful for an outdoor advertising company to sell, lease, market, manage or otherwise make available to others for advertising purposes space on a sign that has been erected, maintained, attached, affixed, painted on or in any other manner represented on a building or premises in violation of any provision of the zoning resolution, administrative code or rules adopted pursuant thereto or to enter into any agreement for such purpose.
(3) On and after a date to be provided by rule, it shall be unlawful for an outdoor advertising company to sell or otherwise transfer control of a sign or sign location or of any right of such company to sell, lease, market, manage or otherwise make space on a sign or at a sign location available to others for advertising purposes to an outdoor advertising company that is not registered in accordance with this article and the rules of the department.
(4) An outdoor advertising company that violates any of the provisions of paragraphs one, two or three of this subdivision shall be subject to a civil penalty of, for a first violation, not more than fifteen thousand dollars and, for a second or subsequent violation, not more than twenty-five thousand dollars.
(5) Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of law, an outdoor advertising company shall, upon being found guilty, be subject to fines or imprisonment or both pursuant to sections 26-126 or 26-248 of the code if a sign under its control has been erected, maintained, attached, affixed painted on, or in any other manner represented on a building or premises in violation of any provision of the zoning resolution, administrative code or rules adopted pursuant thereto relating to signs.

These signs need to be removed:
Chapter 49: “Subchapter D – Removal, Storage, and Disposal of Signs and Sign Structures.”

It just appears that the Department of Buildings does not have enough manpower to do so, or NPA has someone working on the inside, turning a blind eye to the fact.

I would do nearly anything to help to get NPA off the street. What they are doing is the equivalent of just putting posters and billboards wherever they feel they want, without obtaining the proper permits, legal advice, acceptance from community etc., and they have been doing so for years! They act as if they are not in the outdoor advertising business, but a league of their own, unharmed by the law, especially now with these “promotions/raffles”, but they can’t hide anymore. Look at 26-262 #3.

Please let me know how I can help further,

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

InWindow Outdoor Gets in Your Face

Inwindow Outdoor advertising is responsible for the newest and most objectionable form of billboard our metropolitan environment now faces. They run illegal street level signs which occupy the windows and facades of storefronts recently vacated by yet another business failure. We reported on them a while back and now have been given renewed interest by a recent article in the New York Times.

Steve Lambert makes his opinions clear in a letter he just posted on the AAA site. In it he questions the New York Times' reporting strategies, saying "The Times is mistaken in reporting on this as a “thriving” type of advertising emerging from declining economy. Call it what it is, advertisers desperate for profits, committing organized crime, and hurting the livability of our city." I couldn't agree more.

Here is what Inwindow Outdoor has to say about it's activities:
"Own the Streets

Millions of people travel the city streets every day, walking to work, meeting friends or driving home.

At Inwindow Outdoor, we've pioneered an exciting new medium that impacts their everyday lives. Working directly with landlords, we utilize the best retail locations that are currently ‘For Lease’. The result is a highly targeted advertising vehicle which is both colorful and energetic."

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If the Laws Aren't Enforced, Who Cares What The Laws Are?

This article from the NYCity NewsService, is about a bill being proposed to New York City which would legalize the now illegal practice called sniping. "The bill, proposed Council member Melinda Katz (D-Queens), would legalize advertising on construction sheds that cover sidewalks when buildings undergo exterior construction."

Sniping, or Wildposting, despite being illegal, is carried out on a daily basis by NPA City Outdoor and is happening while you read this. In fact, if you visit NPA's website, they will explain to you the different levels of sniping they offer, including Traditional Wildposting, Dedicated Locations, Dedicated Spectaculars, and City Wide Domination Buys. I find the language they use incredibly offensive and quite amazing. The last thing we want as a public are ads, "dominating" the city, and yet that is what is proposed.

Traditional Wildposting

Does no one realize that a law dedicated to preventing Wildposting does not matter and an article about whether the law will disappear in favor of outdoor advertising's abuse of public space is a completely moot point? If we see Wildposting all over the city on every surface, construction sites included, and the company doing the work is vocal about its practices, then for all intents and purposes these ads are not illegal to begin with. Clearly the city already condones this behavior.

I know having laws on the books criminalizing Wildposting activities would help us to combat the issue, if ever we decided it was time to clean the visual blight off our city streets. I get that. I cannot help but continue to see the law as a rouse crafted to appease the public while gifting the outdoor advertising industry full use of our public environment. This is especially true in light of the fact that 4 people were arrested by the NYPD, during the NYSAT project this last April. These individuals were trying to highlight the fact that NPA was operating illegally in our city and that our current law should allow the city to do something about it. Instead of being listened to these individuals spent the weekend in jail.

When laws are so blatantly disregarded by all parties involved, maybe they were never laws at all.

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

I AM And Posterchild Time Lapse For NYSAT

Posterchild came down from Canada to Participate in the NYSAT project that happened April 25th of last month. Him and I AM not only managed to grab several amazing locations, but to time lapse the whole process. Here are the fantastic results.

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Loie Merrit-One Artist's Experience

After talking to Loie Merrit about her experience with the NYSAT project, it became clear that there was a lot of interaction taking place between the whitewashers, artists, and the public. I asked her to write down what happened, and it turns out to be a great example of how this project raised awareness about how the public can participate in the construction of its shared visual environment. If there are any other participants that have an interesting story from the 25th, please email them to me and I will post them accordingly.

Loie talking to the tenants that live upstairs from the illegal advertisement she was painting on.

"As I finished my piece on the corner of Hooper and Borinquen, a couple approached me asking what I was doing. I explained the mass artistic protest that was occurring all around the city. After informing them that NPA Outdoor illegally achieves their outdoor advertising, they confided in me that they live in the building I was working on. According to them, on a daily basis one or two people come by at all hours of the day and put up the awful advertising that nobody residing in the building particularly wants to look at. Not only is the advertising unwanted, but they also told me that the people posting are incredibly rude! "We don't want these advertisements here," they said "They look awful and just prove to us that our capitalistic society has gone to shit!" During our conversation the couple expressed full support for what me and the other artists were doing, "We think it's awesome! We always thought they owned the space and we had no choice, it never occurred to us to just take the advertising down. We're so happy to have seen you out here. What you're doing should happen everywhere. And you guys are inspiring. Why shouldn't we take back the space that's ours!" This is just one example of the kind of support I experienced that afternoon. With any luck those people that did witness a white washer or artist at work will spread the word, and maybe even produce something of their own. We're living in a unique time and it is only through these types of movements that we will ever be able to challenge the money-hungry, socially corrupt, artistically bankrupt establishment."

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Station Domination and the Assualt on Your Senses

When an outdoor advertising company like CBS uses the term "station domination" to refer to one of their advertising packages, you can be sure they mean to capture your attention. The experience is meant to "surround the consumer with multiple messages throughout their commute.", and ultimately reach a point of saturation that is unavoidable to the sighted. That being said, "station domination" is often no more than a handful of large vinyl stickers with the same or similar messages from a single company haphazardly strewn about a major NYC station. Recent incarnations of this have been the Converse One Star campaign and the Apple Chromatic campaign.

let it be known that the days of these relatively benign attempts to harness your commute are over. They may not have a name for it yet, but the History Channel is embarking on "transit system domination", with an abundance of above ground and underground locations being used by the company.

Underground, the normal platform advertising locations are being used in conjunction with the above ground Urban Panels, as well as the exteriors of MTA buses, which we are all familiar with. Alongside this, the first (S) shuttle line full subway car wraps were debuted with History Channel ads.

Another new form of transit advertising the History Channel has been using is adhered to the exteriors of the 1, 2, and 3 trains similarly to the exteriors of MTA buses. By not only using every transit advertising opportunity available, but being the first to dominate both an entire train and an entire line, the campaign has gained unprecedented placement in a commuter's daily routine.

And yet what prompted me to write this post was what I found when exiting the station. Both AM NY and Metro NY, free newspapers with mostly bogus news and Hollywood coverage, had full page advertisements wrapping their entire paper on the morning of Friday, October 24th.

Instead of reiterating the devastating effects of advertising on the unprotected psyche, especially at such a vulnerable time as during the morning commute, I want to visualize where this process is going. With the proper coordination of outdoor advertising firms, which is apparently happening before our eyes, and at a very fast pace, it should be feasible to create a "citywide domination" campaign which would take advantage of all the forms of outdoor advertising this city has to offer. These might include billboards at the major automobile entrances and exits to our city, like bridges and tunnels. It would obviously include large purchases of telephone kiosks, bus shelters, and NPA wildposting sites to cover the city streets. One can only begin to imagine the depth to which this could be taken when one begins to think about the incredible number of outdoor advertising operations the city is now home to.

Maybe this would only be feasible for a day, but the affect would be overwhelming. If you can imagine every outdoor advertisement you see in a day all with a similar message, you are beginning to get the idea. The scale which we are talking about here is obviously outside of our normal comprehension, but can be glimpsed in the History Channel's recent attempt to consume the NYC subway system under one message, and that is to watch Cities of the Underground on Sundays at 9pm.

And what would a city feel like with one ubiquitous advertisement, covering all the myriad outdoor advertising locations, floating across our periphery?

Note: This should not be taken lightly. With the advent of digital billboards, digital phone kiosks, digital taxi toppers, digital urban panels, and digital bus exteriors, we gain the ability to tune all of these disparate outdoor advertisements to the same advertisement all at once. Recent inventions used by Titan Outdoor already allow them to change exterior bus ads as they roam around from one different neighborhood to another. It's not hard to imagine entire areas being dominated by certain specific advertisements at different times of day according to the usage. Or maybe ads on bus shelters, taxi toppers, and bus exteriors all changing to the same ad as they come in proximity to each other, thus creating nests of advertising where one would be hard pressed to escape the message...Cities of the Underground, Sundays at 9pm...

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ads on garbage trucks? City may go there

When outdoor advertising is presented as the solution to our growing city budget failures in light of our ailing economy, we must remember that the proposed benefits are often not worth the loss of public space. Take for example the approximate 8,000 phone kiosks in New York that hold advertising content. That number is based on talking to the four companies, Van Wagner, Vector Media, Prime Point Media, and Titan media which operate phone kiosks in the city. Van Wagner has 3,000, Titan 1,000, Prime Point 800, and Vector who would not tell me anything, approximately 3,000 based on their presence in Manhattan which is similar to Van Wagners. Each phone kiosk has three ads attached to it, making there about 15,000 ads per month strewn across our streets and neighborhoods. For this the city collects about $13,000,000.00 dollars a year. that ends up being .00026 of New York's operating budget or 1/40th of one percent. When we are justifying the destruction of our public environment for incredibly small amounts of money we are hiding the commercialization of our public lives. This is not a budget problem issue so much as it is a result of the trend to finance our cities budgets through private as opposed to public agencies which often results in the lack of public control and accountability to how are cities are run and for whom they operate.

By Marlene Naanes

The budget crunch may be giving some New Yorkers "ad nausea," now that the city is thinking about selling ads on its buildings and vehicles.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn floated the idea of selling advertising space on city-owned buildings and vehicles. The idea is seen by some as a creative way to help fill huge city deficits, but some wonder how much more New Yorkers can take with ads hanging from buildings, encasing entire trains and soon to reach even the subway tunnels.

"It seems to make sense that there would be a saturation point," said Vanessa Gruen, director of special projects at the Municipal Art Society. "Once it spills out to residential areas … people object to having it in the neighborhood."

She added "I can't see Chanel or Gucci putting an ad up on a garbage truck."

James Cox, 39, of Bay Ridge, a train conductor, is philosophical about even more ads all around him."I think it's a good idea to make money, but it's just more visual pollution. It's inevitable though. They're just going to make the city a big advertisement."

The proposal comes as the council considers the governor's study of leasing the state lottery, highways and bridges to generate revenue. Quinn said her staff has been discussing similar ideas but that she had not considered any specific properties, according to the Associated Press. "It's an exercise we should conduct to see what possibilities are there," she said Wednesday at a Citizens Budget Commission breakfast, where she discussed the global financial crisis. "There might not be any, but there might and it's certainly worth going and seeing if anything can be found."

The city could generate up to $10 million to put toward billions in deficits by selling ads on garbage trucks and city vehicles, according to one estimate. The city is facing a $2.3 billion deficit in the coming fiscal year and $5 billion in future gaps, which will widen with the current problems on Wall Street. Ads on trains and buses are a normal part of New York's landscape, but garbage trucks are a new frontier, possibly a profitable one despite a faltering economy, experts said. Revenues from these kinds of ads have continued to grow nationwide since 2001, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.

"Outdoor advertising is still growing despite the softening of the economy," said Jeff Golimowski, spokesman for Outdoor Association of America "It's very cost effective for the advertising. It reaches a very diverse population in a targeted way."Other cities have considered or implemented garbage truck ads, naming rights of stadiums and even ads on school buses, experts said. While some companies would jump at the idea to advertise on a garbage truck--there are already ads on public garbage cans--the concept may be a tough sell for others.

"Certain advertisers would consider the medium inappropriate for their message," said Jodi Senese, executive vice president of marketing for CBS Outdoor. "There are some advertisers who would not be concerned with the association with garbage --think about if you're a disinfecting household product."

If the governor's study eventually pushes naming rights on state bridges or the city considers expanding their advertising-revenue ambitions, they might have a fight on their hands. Last year, public criticism scrapped a Port Authority idea to allow Geico ads at the George Washington Bridge. Taking advertising further to city buildings could prove difficult as the city has sold off many properties in the past and strict advertising regulations reign in a lot of possibilities. Landmarked properties pose another hurdle. "That would take so much away form the beauty of New York," Gruen said. "That's what people come to New York to see and you don't want it covered up with advertising."

Tim Voltz, an IT consultant from Gramercy, seconds that. "If it's just putting up more billboards on the side of buildings, that's okay. But if it's putting a big sign on the top of the Chrysler Building, that's not okay."

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Metro NY 07-25-08 Central Park Ads

I woke up early this morning to get to work and found this article in AM NY being passed to me by an unassuming young gentleman at 14th st. This was obviously of concern to me because the marketing of any commercial products within the NYC parks department system is a severe loss of public control over public space. NYC parks have been co-operated by private park conservancy groups as a way for neighborhoods and businesses to control the conditions of select NYC recreational facilities within their area. These few and far between moments of rest in the commercial hum of NYC have long been off limits to advertising. Until April 2006, the amount of money that could be made by park conservancies (private organizations put in charge of running most parks in the city these days) was limited to an amount not worth the conservancies troubles. A new contract was reached with the city allowing unlimited profits on commercial endeavors that made it worth the backlash in public opinion. The result is a million dollar contract between the Central Park Conservancy, NYC, and Chanel clothing, which will allow a commercial "art" project based on Chanel bags to run for 3 weeks in the center of Central Park. This is yet another example of why the private public partnership is so troublesome.

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Looking to 'ad' Big Bucks-AMNY

This article appeared in a August issue of AM New York in 2007. It highlights a test run by the MTA of the effectiveness of full inside subway car ad wraps. what is poignant about the article is the way the legitimacy of this kind of private public relationship is established is always through the budget and fiscal needs of the public institution. The MTA is portrayed as strapped for cash and in need of private ad revenue as an integral part of keeping the public company afloat. The only discussion of the psychic affect of this kind of daily interruption is painted through its aesthetics which are awash with soothing images and notions of transcendence. I bet it was overwhelming and aggressive.

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Monday, May 1, 2006

Mining for Ad Dollars-AMNY

This article appeared in AM New York, the daily subway paper. It talks about plans to wrap the inside of subway cars in full ads like pictured as well as other insidious methods to gain riders attention. Its pretty wild what kinds of tactics are being proposed to fully engage the viewer. I think there is a simple quote from the article which says a lot to this end. "Three strategies that have helped the MTA reap big bucks from advertisers. Num. 1 Station Domination."

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