Friday, March 5, 2010

TankVertising In Bushwick

VIA Animal New York

Ad Creep Update time. New Yorkers are already assaulted daily by ads in motion on buses, both MTA and tourist, taxicab tops, pedicab sides, panel trucks, even the occasional skywriting stunt. Well now, Media-N-Motion (site under construction), apparently a Los Angeles company, wants to stick ads on loud as fuck tanker trucks and send them rolling through New York City neighborhoods—that won’t generate any complaints! Let’s think of some possible fitting advertisers.

The Tank. Beer! (”Get tanked this weekend!”). Actually any alcohol brand. The New York Liquidation Bureau. Uh…

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Unwelcome Mats And Other CityEvention Campaigns

Remember these stupid door mats for Direct TV? They appeared about a year ago for a guerrilla marketing campaign and we never found out the responsible party. Just yesterday a reader sent us a few links about another "street mat" campaign that appeared recently on the upper west side of Manhattan.

In fact one of the links was to a New York Times article about the illegal advertisements. In the article Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said

"It was “an unauthorized ad,” he said, adding that another had been placed outside an entrance to the station at 79th Street and Broadway. Transit officials “reached out to the Beacon Theater” with a request to remove them, he said, although he said it was not clear whether “we took them out ourselves, or they did.”

So who was responsible for the safety liabilities? Well the reader who contacted us had found that on the CityEventions twitter page they remark "Our Banana Shpeel decals get a NY Times mention." This is funny cause they are coy about the whole thing on the CityEventions Facebook page where they seem not to know the culprit "The Upper West Side now OFFICIALLY welcomes Banana Shpeel.. awesome decal. I wonder who put it there...?"

These tactics seemed reminiscent of another outdoor advertising company we take issue with in New York, City Outdoor, which is actually NPA City Outdoor. Sure enough on the CityEventions Facebook page they draw a connection when they talk about the "Love it or Hate it Campaign."

"This campaign was run for City USA this past summer. It showcases how City Eventions is able to team with City Outdoor and other City USA constituents, to pull off a killer campaign that integrates traditional and non-traditional advertising"

We then went to the CityEventions website and even more insanity popped up. Apparently they are responsible for a recent dye-cut cutout campaign for Do Denim. These life sized busts were simply strewn around the city, attached to construction awnings for passersby to run into. As we are faced with yet another guerrilla marketing campaign that is little more than abusive street art, the question of why we allow this type of corporate behavior and yet criminalize street art and graffiti resounds in my head. This question is particularly perplexing when you think that policing this corporate graffiti should take nothing more than a phone call to the offending company.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

This Could Be The Biggest Ad Ever Erected

Animal New York reports that this "20-story couple can be seen discerned from five kilometers away." It may be the biggest outdoor advertisement on Earth but proposed plans in 1999 for Moonvertising would have dwarfed this little puppy.

"Moonvertising involves shining a powerful laser at the moon and projecting an advertising message that can be seen from around the world. Coca-Cola tried to do it in 1999 as the millennium approached, but the FAA was worried about interference with aircraft (i.e. "cutting flying airplanes in half")."

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

CBS Outdoor Brings 3D Outdoor Advertising to New York's Grand Central Station

VIA PR Newswire

State-of-the-Art Technology Marks First-Ever Out-of-Home High-Definition 3D Projection Ad Campaign

NEW YORK, Feb. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- CBS Outdoor today unveiled a first-ever event in out-of-home-advertising: a high-definition 3D projection display in New York City's Grand Central Station. Utilizing state-of-the-art 3D technology and a custom theatre-like environment created exclusively for this outdoor advertising campaign, consumers will see 3D commercial spots, with audio, along with brand ambassadors who will be distributing special 3D glasses to the 70,000 commuters that pass by the display every day. The 3D commercials will be shown daily from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM (other broadcast commercials will be shown at all other times). [MORE HERE]

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Mediacy Gatescapes Hit The Streets 01-19-10

Rendering courtesy of Mediacy Inc.

A while back we were sent Mediacy's press release for their new advertising venture called Gatescapes. These eyesores, we assumed would be illegal like the Streetscape advertisements pushed by InWindow, Blue Outdoor, and others. Mr. Gitter, Mediacy's CEO, contacted us after we made this clear on our site and this began a series of conversations. Mainly we talked about our differing opinions on how this would alter the NYC landscape. We argued that 15 foot tall ads for The Real Housewives of wherever would be intrusions into our community that would treat residents as "impressions" to be used for commercial interests, they argued that these vinyl ads would counteract graffiti and enliven our city streets. Along with this, conversations on how art could benefit from this new media venture were had. It was proposed by Mr. Gitter that we become a part of this process of curating these artworks. I was worried that artists would be used to legitimate what might be an illegal advertising business and that the offering of space to artists was not an altruistic act by the company but a ploy to deflect attention from the potentially illegal advertising business. I explained that my involvement would require that at least 51% of the gates owned by the company be used for art because this was the only way I could see the advertising serving the art and not the other way around. Obviously this did not fly and Mediacy and PublicAdCampaign are no longer in talks. According to their website, 25% of the Gatescape spaces will be used for artwork and will be curated by Julia Lazarus.

Mediacy has gone ahead with their business in NYC, and we were happy to see them officially registering as an Outdoor Advertising Company on January 14th, 2010. This registration is necessary for a business to offer outdoor advertising services in New York and is the first step in bringing advertising to the streets legally. I am still unsure if Mediacy is trying to do this knowing we will be watching, or because it is the right thing to do, but either way we commend them for it. In fact they make specific mention of their legal aspirations on their website in their explanation of the great opportunity that are Gatescapes.
That's right-- it's so good that's it available for a limited time only. NYC has passed a law banning solid metal roll-down storefront gates. That means there's only 16 more years to advertise on one of the largest format, most visible, legally permitted outdoor media available anywhere! Don't miss your chance. Call Mediacy Outdoor while there's still time!
January 19th, Mediacy launched its first non commercial Gatescape at 323 west 42nd street with an installation for Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's research fund. Checking into the DOB website, there is no permit for outdoor advertising signage at 323 west 42nd street. This isn't a problem with the current content as the DOB does not issue violations for non-commercial signs but if this sign were to change to an ad for Coca-Cola it would be an entirely different story.

Rendering courtesy of Mediacy Inc.

As of now we are anxiously awaiting Julia Lazarus's contribution to our city in the form of curated artwork on the plethora of rolldown gates in our city. We are also interested to see Mediacy's commercial content hit the streets and whether or not there will be permitting along with these signs. Despite our disapproval for this type of signage in general, going about advertising legally in our city allows the DOB to make sure that this signage will not get out of hand and will remain in properly zoned areas. We ask our readers to keep their eyes on the streets for these new Gatescapes in an effort to hold Mediacy true to their word on keeping things legal.

Rendering courtesy of Mediacy Inc.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gender Bending Hotties Invade Chelsea at 300 West 22nd Street

Just when I thought Streetscapes had been abandoned by outdoor advertisers in NYC, or at least in Chelsea, a new one shows up right in the hood. Now I like Rupaul just the same as the next guy but I don't want to indulge her, and her gender bending buddies, first thing in the morning at 15 feet tall. Having grown up in Chelsea I can enjoy a beautiful man like the next, but let's keep it legal people.

One would assume this immense illegal Streetscape advertisement had its initial complaint # 1274075 called in by the same person who posted the above sign. It reads...
This is illegal corporate graffiti

This is an Environmental Control Board (ECB) Violation.

The Department of Buildings has been contacted, please remove this abomination IMMEDIATELY, this is not Times Square.

Building owners who lease ads on their premises are considered outdoor advertising companies. As such, they can be fined a maximum of 25,000 dollars

Call 311 to add your complaint

status number is 1274075
I obviously called this "abomination" in as well given that the recent equinox billboard removal in Greenwich Village came after huge public outcry made it a newsworthy issue. When I went to check complaint # 1274098 that I made at 9:00am this morning there was already a 3rd complaint filed by another party.

I find it interesting that this concerned New Yorker complains "this is not Times Square". Many New Yorkers you talk to have no problem with the theme park being run in midtown. In fact many New Yorkers rarely pass through that part of town unless out of necessity. As is evidenced in this public response, this does not mean New Yorkers want to live in Times Square. Although New York, and particularly Manhattan, feels less like somewhere we live and more like somewhere the world visits, this is simply not the case. Our neighborhoods and communities are just that. Using them as sites of commercial interruption, especially when done illegally, harms the people that live in this city and the sense of control over their environment that is needed to feel invested in ones community. Streetscapes like this and the others we have kept track of are particularly insulting because of their scale and placement which is meant to overwhelm the viewer.

I also find it interesting that this resident makes the comparison between advertising and traditional graffiti. When outdoor advertising is illegal, you can often find this comment being made. I am inclined to disagree slightly because it would seem graffiti artists often become incredibly productive parts of our society working in design, the arts, and ironically advertising, as well as many other fields. People who hang advertising and particularly illegal postings like this, continue a long and drawn out career of violating our streets in new and more insidious ways. This says nothing about the fact that graffiti or marking ones environment as a way to find ones identity in a city of 8 million people, might actually be a important avenue of expression for our youth.

I have added this location to our Streetscape map where you can find more illegal ads posted by companies like InWindow and Blue Outdoor. We will report back when this Streetscape is removed.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mobile Billboards: Bringing More Air Pollution, Traffic Congestion, Parking Problems

I love Ban Billboard Blight for their continued coverage of LA based outdoor advertising issues. In their most recent post on mobile billboards they pose this question...
So how should we regard the rapidly-growing phenomenon of mobile billboards mounted on trucks and trailers and driven through the streets or left sitting for days in highly sought-after parking spaces? As inevitable manifestations of commercial enterprise, or as destructive, anti-social assaults on our shared public spaces that ought to banned forthwith?
The San Francisco ordinance banning mobile advertising is explained like this...
By their nature, commercial advertising vehicles are intended to distract, and aim to capture and hold the attention of, members of the public on or adjoining public streets, including drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and others. Moreover, such vehicles display commercial advertising from a mobile platform, including while the vehicle is moving within the flow of traffic, potentially stopping, starting, or turning abruptly, accentuating the inherent tendency of such advertising to seize attention and to distract. Additionally, the use of motor vehicles to display commercial advertising creates exhaust emissions. For these reasons, the Board of Supervisors finds that commercial advertising vehicles create aesthetic blight and visual clutter and create potential and actual traffic and health and safety hazards.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Google Plans to Upgrade Old Billboards in Street View

A new patent recently granted to Google will allow the sale of billboards on Google Maps in an auction style reward the highest bidder format. As this new form of advertising becomes more widely used, look for Starbucks to usurp your local coffee shop's awning to advertise for it's nationwide chain.

VIA Read Write Web

According to a new patent that was just granted to Google, the company could soon extend the reach of its advertising program in Google Maps to Street View. This patent, which was originally filed on July 7, 2008, describes a new system for promoting ads in online mapping applications. In this patent, Google describes how it plans to identify buildings, posters, signs and billboards in these images and give advertisers the ability to replace these images with more up-to-date ads. In addition, Google also seems to plan an advertising auction for unclaimed properties. [More]

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mini Cooper Ad Campaign Gets Trashy with Giant Cardboard Boxes

Back in April, Heineken took a page out of Bud Light's funny-book and created some pretty comical ads showing a comparison between a woman's fantasy closet filled with couture apparel and a guy's penultimate setup filled with beer. Taking things one step further, as a follow-up, massive cardboard boxes with the words 'Walk-in Fridge' were strewn around Amsterdam just before garbage day. [MORE]

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jet Blue "The Flyers Collection" Advertising Campaign

Always advertising savvy, Jet Blue has taken its recent campaign to empty storefronts in New York. Let me explain this very clearly. Jet Blue, or rather the outdoor advertising company Jet Blue is paying, has rented out this storefront but you cannot go in. There is no one there because the products inside are not actually for sale. Available outside is a promotional pamphlet which directs you to a website. takes you to a Facebook page where you can view imaginary products that make fun of other airlines lacking services. These same products are on display in this fake retail outdoor advertisement. Wow! I'm not sure how I feel about this but I'm pretty sure it isn't illegal. This isn't the building's first time being used as a giant street level billboard.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Times Square Subway Advertising Projection Screen

This image was sent to me by a PublicAdCampaign reader yesterday and was taken in the NYC subway system. In a continued effort to finance our ailing MTA we are forced to consume more and more advertising. According to the reader, this projection is the size of a small movie screen and the washed out quality you see above is actually how the image looked in real life. The MTA, operating on a budget that would dwarf many US city budgets, will have to occupy every space we have with advertising to even begin to put a dent in our public transportation operating costs. If this is the case, are we willing as a public to allow every inch of our public transportation system to be covered in commercial messages? And if we are unwilling to let the proliferation of such media fully takeover, why allow these singular examples when we know they will not put a dent in the financial troubles of our beloved MTA?

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Friday, December 4, 2009

I Won A Contest Promotions Sweepstakes! or The Most Important Post We Have Ever Made

This is a long post but please read it. Due to some fantastic circumstances we finally found out what NPA and Contest Promotions are up to.

A while back I entered one of the Contest Promotions sweepstakes at The Deli. Yesterday I received the above package from 28-20 Borden Avenue in Long Island City. Oddly Contest Promotions is right down the block from Clear Chanel taxi media, and on the same property as Spring Scaffolding and Skyline Scaffolding. I only bring this up because we all know Contest Promotions is a front to make NPA City Outdoor legal and we also know NPA holds many contracts with scaffolding companies which allow illegal Wildposting on their construction sheds in return for small amounts of cash. I'm not saying this is the case with these two companies, I'm just saying they occupy the same building. On a side note, if you want to send the leasing agents at NPA copies of the $25,000.00 violations you received from the DOB for having their illegal advertising signage on your property, the address is 49 west 23rd st. 8th floor, NY NY 10010. Oddly you can address the package to Contest Promotions, NPA City Outdoor, or National Promotions with the same result.

Upon opening the package I realized I had just received my "prize" for entering the contest along with a nice letter from Mrs. Tong, the contest coordinator. The second paragraph in the letter caught my attention and so I will transcribe it here...
"Contest Promotions operates sweepstakes activities just like the one you entered in conjunction with small businesses throughout the city of New York in an effort to increase patronage at the participating businesses. Should you wish to learn more about the sweepstakes, please log on to"
This struck me as a strange way to talk about a business whose single purpose was to legitimate the illegal advertising business run by NPA. I quickly logged on to their website only to find more of this heavy handed altruism.
"Who We Are

"Contest Promotions" is a company that does exactly what it says - it employs contests and sweepstakes to promote businesses, specifically small retail businesses nationwide. That's why Contest Promotions' motto is:

"Helping Mom and Pop's Complete" (I think they mean Compete)

By 'Mom and Pop's,' we mean all the small, potentially family-owned retailers across the countries who have found themselves in the challenging position of competing against well-funded national chain stores. In today's competitive marketplace, these Mom and Pop retailers need to find ways to increase foot traffic and bolster sales to prevent themselves from being squeezed out of their own backyards. It's a basic issue of retail survival.

That's where Contest Promotions fits beautifully into their business strategies"

The complete fabrication of the motivations behind the Contest Promotions business leads me into a few questions I think will debunk the assertions that this is a legitimate business looking out for the greater good, and give credence to our belief that they are actually aiding NPA City Outdoor in their illegal advertising business.

What is Contest Promotions' revenue stream? According to The Deli, they pay $50.00 to put their raffle box on the deli counter. They also spend money collecting the tickets, processing and mailing the prizes. The only place I can see revenue coming into this business is through companies like Dr. Pepper paying to have their products used as promotions. Otherwise it would seem they have no revenue at all which would lead me to believe they are actually NPA or at least sponsored by NPA.

What kinds of businesses are actually using Contest Promotions sweepstakes materials? In my neighborhood, along with delis and "Mom and Pop" stores, there is MTP or Central Parking and Rawhide. The first is definitely not a "Mom & Pop" establishment, having hundreds of parking locations around the city, and the later is an old Chelsea icon catering to the leather bound gay scene. When I went to both places, neither knew what I was talking about when I told them I wanted to enter the sweepstakes. Yet both have huge NPA City Outdoor illegal advertising billboards outside.

Rawhide street view
MTP parking street view

Why is there not a single example of Contest Promotions operating at a location which does not already operate an illegal NPA City Outdoor advertisement? Walking the streets of New York City I have been able to visually make the link between Contest Promotions and NPA but since Contest Promotions operates in 3 other cities I needed the very illuminating information made available on their website to further prove this connection. Under "Markets" on the Contest Promotions website they list the 3 other cities in which they operate, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Houston. Within these cities, they list every location they operate sweepstakes promotions at. Choose any location from these lists and get the Google maps street view of this business and you will see an NPA run ad frame. Take for example...

Esequiel's Hair Salon - 808 N. State St. Los Angeles, California.

Sonoma Liquor Company - 65 6th St. San Francisco, California.

King Cole Liquor - 1802 Richmond Ave. Houston, Texas.

So if the connection between these two companies is clear, how does the addition of Contest Promotions to the equation make the illegal NPA advertisements legal? For a while we thought this was simply an attempt to turn NPA advertising signs into what are referred to as first party signage on the understanding that these ad images were being used to promote the products to be won inside in the same way a shoe in a shoe store window would suggest shoes are available for purchase at this establishment. This is not entirely the case.

It seems that Contest Promotions is applying for accessory business sign permits from the DOB. You can see the two applications at 98 Avenue A that were denied, here, and here. This is a slightly different case than simply trying to call these legal first party signs and in my non-expert opinion here is why they are doing this. Once NPA locations are permitted as accessory business signs, they fall under a different category than advertising signage which is policed more rigorously. The main difference between the two types of signs and how they are policed is between the fines that can be given by the DOB sign enforcement unit. For an illegal advertising sign, the fine can be $25,000.00. For improper use of an accessory business sign, the fine is on par with a traffic ticket. If the local business is caught improperly using an accessory business sign for advertising, NPA can handle paying these tickets since they charge about $5,000.00 - $6,000.00 a month per location and pay local landlords about $120.00 per month.

The last thing we learned and maybe the most interesting is that from the landlords I've talked to, they have no idea that any of this is going on. In fact Contest Promotions is applying for accessory business signs without the landlords or business owners even knowing about it. And the worst part about this deplorable behavior is all being done to bypass the laws we have put in place as a city concerned about the over proliferation of outdoor advertising. On top of this it is being done under the guise of a company that pretends it is helping the city by promoting local businesses. Ask East Village Farms, the business located at 98 Avenue A, which has 10 $25,000.00 fines pending due to illegal signage operated by NPA and Contest Promotions, if they feel like the whole scheme is helping them out.

I'm not exactly sure what the next course of action is at this point but it would seem outrage is an appropriate response. As we find this to be one of our more interesting posts in a while, please feel free to leave your comments for NPA and Contest Promotions.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Bayer's 'Media Facade' redefines building-vertising

Via Engadget

You may think that once you've seen one building turned into a massive billboard you've seem them all, but that would mean you probably haven't seen the so-called "Media Facade" now adorning Bayer's former HQ in Leverkusen, Germany. Built by ag4 media facade GmbH and GKD AG, the massive display apparently consists of 5.6 million LEDs that cover the entire 17,500 square meters of the building, and which can be lit up at will to pump out gigantic advertisements worthy of any science fiction movie. You'll note this is the former Bayer headquarters -- it seems that the promise of 'round the clock ads visible for miles around saved the building from the wrecking ball. Head on past the break for a video of it in action, and a second showing the facade being constructed.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Are You Scared Yet?

VIA Ban Billboard Blight

Big Brother Watching? How Digital Billboards Can Help Turn Public Space Into a Giant Spycam

The video above illustrates how a digital billboard in the UK reads license numbers of passing cars and uses that information to interact with the driver in an oil company marketing campaign. Digital billboards are already capable of determining what radio stations are on in passing cars, and billboards with embedded cameras and software to determine the gender and age of passersby are being tested in several places.

Objections to digital billboards are usually based one or more of the following: their extreme brightness, which constitutes visual blight and causes light trespass into homes and apartments; their excessive energy consumption; and their potential to distract drivers and present a hazard to motorists and pedestrians. But what of their potential, currently limited only by technology, to observe, record, and otherwise invade the privacy of anyone who happens into their territory? There aren’t any legal limits on this invasive activity, and the advertising industry is busily devising ever-more sophisticated means of gathering information and targeting consumers.

Which raises the question: Do people give up any right to privacy once they get into a car and drive down the street?

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Why Are You Using Up My Minutes HBO?

A few days ago I was walking through Williamsburg past a cheap furniture store on Grand street when I caught this flyer out of the corner of my eye. The hand made quality of the flyer juxtaposed with the celebrity Jason Schwartzman didn't make sense and I immediately knew something was amiss. I tore off the number and phoned this so called private detective right there on the spot. I suggest you do the same cause it was kind of amazing. An answering service picks up and Mr. Schwartzman's voice explains that he is an un-licensed private detective.
"If you have a problem, like a cheating boyfriend or girlfriend, or you have some kind of amnesia and you think you yourself are missing, I'm your man."
After a few more remarks he explains you can see him in action on such and such a night at such and such a time on the new HBO TV show Bored To Death.

With advertising budgets extremely low and revenues for outdoor advertising plummeting since the recession began, it seems OAC's are finding new and "exciting" ways to bring ad content to the streets for what would appear little to no cost. I'm assuming the printing of this ad campaign was done on a cheap Xerox machine and the company didn't pay for the location, probably because they didn't tell the furniture store that the flyer was for a new HBO series. It would seem this type of advertising is becoming a trend as this is not the first fake flyer I have seen around. Kelli Anderson of the Anti-Advertising Agency reported on a similar fake ad campaign for Courtney Cox's new show The Cougar, in which advertisements masquerade as real estate signs, shown here.

It's funny how some outdoor advertising these days is becoming so localized and specific to its environment it is starting to take on similar qualities to street art. I must say I had a good internal chuckle when Mr. Schwartzman ended his taped recording "And if this is Suzanne, which I hope it is, I haven't had any white wine or pot since you moved out." It's just disappointing when you realize this moment of serendipity and joy was created by someone trying to pull change out of your project for some corporation that couldn't give a shit about you.

The similar, yet ambiguous, street project seen here is a perfect contrast to this HBO outdoor advertisement. Call both numbers and see which one makes you think, and which one leaves you feeling taken advantage of.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Direct T.V. Doormats-Bright Green Blight

Not everyone wants to live in a city free of advertising's menacing antagonism, but does anyone really want to come home to this bright green monster? Superintendents and residents who approve this sort of atrocity should be shot on site. Some people will take anything if it's free, anything.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Artists' Billboards For Target

image stolen from Patrick McMullan

A good friend of mine Stephanie Diamond told me about this recent Target art/ad/fashion collaboration. You know how I feel about this type of artistic degradation.


Just in time for New York's "Fashion Week," the art-friendly people at Target have hired four artists to provide flashy designs -- featuring Target's trademark red target image -- for the company's giant billboards in Times Square. The artists are Laurie Rosenwald, Michael Anderson, Josh Goldstein and Charles Wilkin, all selected for the job by the New York ad company Mother. The ads stay up through October, then the vinyl is re purposed into totes designed by Anna Sui -- which are available for $29.99 each (click here).

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Broadway’s Car-Free Zones: This Space for Rent

A recent article from The New York Times talks about the rental of the newly formed public spaces on the Broadway Car-Free zones. I'm not against the rental of the space, I'm not even sure I'm fully against its rental to corporate America. This is in part due to the fact that like most other advertising mediums, a singular location like this can be avoided by pedestrians. What I am against is the idea that corporate sponsorship is the way to fund our public services. When we rely on this kind of funding to keep our public services running, we risk loosing the autonomy of those spaces.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Kirby Flogos All The Rage

MOMO sent me a introduction to the Flogo company recently and I couldn't help but look it up on YouTube. This video is just one example of recent Flogo advertising stunts and I couldn't help but be enthralled by the level of enthusiasm people seem to have. It's simply idiotic.

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GI Joe At The Beach?

I made it to the beach last Friday to hang out and relax. Originally meaning to go to Jacob Riis park to beat the crowds, the rain changed my plans and led me to Coney Island where rain could be brushed off with heavy drinking. The rain ended up holding off and I set up a blanket 30 feet from the water. About an hour into my relaxation a helicopter flew up the beach and began to hover about 30 yards off shore directly in front of me. Half the beach got up and ran down to the water's edge taking pictures and shooting video as the helicopter released a ladder, presumably to rescue someone who was drowning. All the while more people were rushing down the beach to see what all the commotion was. Given the helicopter was only 60 feet above the water, making a ton of noise and disrupting the waters surface for a hundred feet in all directions, it was hard not to notice. After about a minute a guy dressed in army fatigues began to climb down the ladder. I kept trying to see if someone was drowning but couldn't see any reason that the helicopter should be running a rescue operation. It was then that I looked up at the helicopter again and saw the G.I. Joe logo plastered to its side. Once the man reached the bottom of the ladder and waved at the crowd, the helicopter began to slowly traverse the water front making sure every last beach goer looked up from his book or stopped applying sunscreen to their boyfriend's back. All in all it was a fantastic experience that unceremoniously took 5 minutes of everyone's life while simultaneously distracting every life guard on duty.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Application Unlimited In New York

Application Unlimited is another company operating street level vinyl storefront wraps in New York City. I was walking through the subway this morning and saw them installing vinyl ads in the 14th street ACE station which I believe is still operated by CBS outdoor. The image above, taken from their website, shows what they can do.

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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, June 24, 2009

M.T.A. Sells Naming Rights to Subway Station

Quite simply put, the tactic of floating the MTA budget on outdoor advertising revenue is appalling and misguided. It seems that with all of this recession talk and fiscal crises, transit officials are behaving like junkies looking for their next fix, selling off would be consumer electronics for the price of a dime bag. I don't promote the sale of our public environment to private companies but if the MTA is going to purport that they have their hands tied, then they should at least be making a profitable business deal.

The renaming of the Atlantic Avenue, Pacific Street and Flatbush Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn to include Barclays bank will do absolutely nothing to ease the financial crises burdening our great transit system while opening a floodgate of corporate sponsorship of our public services. The proposed 4 million dollars which will be doled out at a measly $200,000 per year over the next 20 years is an insult to everyone that holds our cities visual environment and history sacred. I say proposed because in the past these arrangements to pay the city over a long term have resulted in money owed that isn't paid.

I don't even have to go into the actual numbers here, as they aren't needed to realize how incredibly small a contribution this revenue will be to our city, but lets give it a go anyways. The MTA carries about 7.6 million people per day at $2.00 per ride, or 15.2 million dollars a day in revenue. multiply that by 365 and you get 5.548 billion dollars. This number begins to approach the enormous operating budget of our immense transit system, only off by a few billion that comes in other forms of revenue. If we only use the revenue made through ridership, the contribution made by the branding of The Atlantic Pacific station is %0.0036049026676279743 of the budget.

And to those who say "every bit counts", lets remember that the idiots working for the MTA who are brokering this deal, probably make more than the $200,000.00 a year. The result is the sale of our cities assets fire sale style to pay employees that have nothing to do with running our transit system.

Reader comments on this article seem to express the public's general view on this matter.

VIA The New York Times

Selling the name of a subway station has been a goal of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for nearly five years. But interest has been low, even for a piece of real estate so recognizable to the public.

So it was with surprisingly little fanfare that the authority announced on Monday that it had finally found a buyer.

If a $4 million deal is approved on Wednesday, the nexus of subway stops at Atlantic Avenue, Pacific Street and Flatbush Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn will add an additional name to its already lengthy title: Barclays.

This may seem odd, since Barclays is a bank based in London with offices in Manhattan, and the only Barclay Street on the city map is not even in Brooklyn. (It’s in Manhattan, in the financial district.)

There will, however, soon be a Barclays Center, the sports arena planned as the focal point of the Atlantic Yards project, and the developer, Forest City Ratner, has agreed to pay the transportation authority $200,000 a year for the next 20 years to rename one of the oldest and busiest stations in the borough.

This raises a few questions. An academic might talk of the intersection between public and private space. A straphanger may ask how all those names can fit into one announcement.

And if a company can pay to get its name on any station, a New Yorker might wonder what’s next: Coca-Cola Presents 59th Street-Columbus Circle?

The answer is maybe. Once upon a time, geographic relevance determined a station’s name, but now, the authority says it is open to any naming agreements that can raise revenue for its transit system, including ones not directly tied to location.

“It’s always a question of balancing our need for revenue and our stewardship of public space,” said Jeremy Soffin, a spokesman for the agency. Advertising may make the most sense for a company associated with a station, he said, “but we’re not closing anything out.”

And the Barclays deal has defenders on the authority’s governing board.

“It’s not like Taco Bell saying it wants Grand Army Plaza or something like that,” said John H. Banks III, a board member since 2004.

Would Mr. Banks oppose that idea?

“A year and a half ago? Yeah,” he said. “Tomorrow? No.”

Still, while selling station names could bring the authority revenue it needs, advertising experts say companies may not be as well-served.

“To be effective, the viewer needs to understand the relevance of the ad,” said Allen Adamson of Landor, a branding firm. “To rename the 59th and Lex stop the McDonald’s stop — it ain’t going to work. I don’t think it will stick.”

Indeed, other cities have tried this with little success. Boston, for example, tried auctioning off four historic stations a few years ago and received no bids. Though Citigroup paid $400 million to sponsor the new Mets stadium in Queens, the company refused to pay the authority to rename the stop nearby, which is now known as Mets/Willets Point.

To determine its asking price for the Brooklyn station, the authority studied a few successful efforts, like a monorail in Las Vegas named for Nextel, the communications company, and streetcars in Tampa, Fla., named for a local electric utility. And the popularity of the station — the second-busiest in Brooklyn last year — was taken into account.

“It’s grounded in reasonable business practices,” Mr. Banks said. “Obviously Van Siclen on a No. 2 is not going to be as valuable to a corporate entity as Atlantic Avenue.”

The station name change is scheduled for the opening of the arena, timed for 2012. The exact punctuation of the new station name has yet to be determined, the authority said, although hyphens or slashes are likely to be used. New signage would be paid for by Forest City Ratner, and the authority plans to introduce the revised name gradually in maps and timetables after the arena opens.

A few New York businesses contacted on Tuesday said they were not interested in a piece of the underground. Zabar’s, the Upper West Side food emporium, said it was not interested in the 79th Street station. Macy’s said a sponsorship deal at 34th Street was not in the cards.

And straphangers at the Atlantic Avenue station like Nick Desio, 53, a Citigroup employee who commutes from Long Island, said names were beside the point.

“They can call it anything they want, as long as my train’s on time,” he said.

Ethan Wilensky-Lanford contributed reporting.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Is Anything Sacred?

I'd like to say bar napkins are public domain and should not be advertised on. I know I can't say that but do I really have to boycott my favorite bar because of this?

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dunkin’ Is Just Determined to Make Us Swallow ‘Brokefast’

Have some freaking class people.

VIA New York's Grub Street
Ha! Right after we cringed over the headache-inducing word “brokefast,” a tipster pointed out that Dunkin' Donuts hired some buskers to take their gospel to the streets this morning. We have no idea what they were singing — maybe the "$5 Foot-longs" song?

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Use Your I-Phone To Interact With Outdoor Addvertising

The more you interact, the longer you stand in front of an advertisement, and the more of your life you loose to commercial messages under the guise of entertainment. This isn't the first time outdoor advertising has engaged cell phone users.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Digital Advertising On NYC Buses at Night

Now tell me it wouldn't be distracting if you were sitting eye level to this in a car. Your pupils would shrink down so small trying to filter out all that extra light, you might as well close your eyes, hit the gas, and hope for the best.

Photo-Jason Eppink

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Inflatable Supergraphics: Part of McDonalds Ad Blitz for Upscale Coffee Drinks

VIA Ban Billboard Blight
The crew was out in the middle of the night on Overland Ave. in West L.A., installing this five-story ”inflatable” supergraphic sign that’s part of a $100 milllion-plus advertising campaign signaling McDonalds’ foray into the upscale coffee market dominated by Starbucks and a handful of other chains.

The building previously sported a supergraphic ad for designer jeans, which wasn’t removed, but covered up by the faux brick of the McCafe sign. Last year, the company that installed the ads, World Wide Rush, got an injunction from a U.S. District Court Judge barring the city from enforcing its ban on supergraphic ads at the location.

According to an advertising industry publication, McDonalds spent $825 million last year on advertising on TV, radio, the internet and billboards and other outdoor advertising venues. To tell McDonalds (for whatever its worth) what you think of their marketing campaign, click here.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Next Generation Google Maps Has All the Billboards Included

The next generation of Google Maps has an intricacy most of us would find unfathomable. Along with that level of detail comes all the outdoor advertising your little hearts could desire. Take a look at the corner of Lafayette and Houston street and compare it with the google map street view image below. They even have the advertising location Ji Lee made his amazing New Museum campaign on. WOW

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Corporate Sponsored Pothole Repair!

We all pretend like this is some magnificent act of altruism on the part of KFC, aiding our poor city governments in times of need. The fact of the matter is this is cheap advertising and logo placement. If KFC wanted to help the city they would just patch the potholes and move on. Ironically, an act of quiet benevolence would not go unnoticed and KFC would probably be greatly rewarded with good press and customer loyalty.

from The Anti-Advertising Agency by

Guest post from AAA Reader James Ewert:


A certain greasy chicken franchise is adding another item to its menu: pothole patching. In Louisville, KY and potentially in a town near you, what was once a city service paid for by tax payers might become another avenue for advertising. The fried chicken restaurant extended an offer to mayors across the country to have the restaurant fill the city’s potholes and in return be allowed to affix a chalk logo to the newly paved asphalt. I know it’s a recession and all, and municipalities are feeling the pinch when it comes to typical city services like snow plowing and pothole patching, but come on; do we really need a fried chicken restaurant filling potholes for us? - James Ewert

Thanks James! If you’re concerned about corporation sweeping into rescue us from tax cuts, see these previous posts:

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Monday, March 16, 2009

MTA the First to Officially *Not* Recognize the Name Citi Field

Naming sports venues and train stations after corporations is a different form of outdoor advertising that can't really be deemed illegal the same way I would like to see other forms of outdoor advertising made obsolete. It is nonetheless a fabulous intrusion on the part of any corporation using this tactic and should be paid for aggressively by those wishing to use such devious means of public communication. Citi pays 20 million a year for the right to call the Mets stadium Citi Field, and the MTA is doing the right thing by standing up to pressures to rename the station closest to the field for no compensation whatsoever. They will pay the Mets, a private for profit institution, but not the MTA, a bankrupt city agency and vital part of a healthy metropolis. I get it.

from Gothamist by

2009_03_willetsshea.jpg After initially thinking that they would rename the 7 Train subway stop in tandem with the new ballpark, the MTA announced that the train stop closest to the Mets' new digs will not carry the name "Citi Field" after the team refused to cough up any money for the station's name change. The station is nearly halfway through a planned $40 million in renovations to go along with the opening of the new stadium and the MTA had hoped to help pay for the work with a portion of the $20 million a year the Mets are receiving in naming rights from Citigroup. The team apparently wasn't eager to spread the wealth however and now the station will simply be renamed "Mets/Willets Point," the nearby LIRR station carrying the same name. On the upside, at least the MTA avoids the possibility of being forced into renaming the station again with no one exactly holding their breath that Citi Field (or as some are calling it, Debits Field) is a moniker that will last through the economic winter.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Can we make the airport any more degrading?

from The Anti-Advertising Agency by

We have to dump all of our water, in some cases women are being forced to remove their undergarments, and of course we all have to take off our shoes, now we are forced to look at ads in the process. Not that the security check point was a particularly sacred or peaceful place anyway, but man, seeing those really bright ads at that moment is not the kind of branding they want. I’m thinking: “damnit, I hate shoes right now.” And then I have to stare into a box that is telling me “you love shoes. you need shoes. buy more shoes.”

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Can’t Rent Your Storefront? Make it an Illegal Billboard

When new technologies come out and or become cheap enough to implement, the advertising industry often uses them to create new venues for advertising dissemination. It seems the large scale vinyl print has found its newest application as the economic crisis leaves storefronts abandoned and landlords without income. These locations are treated by the Department of buildings the same way billboards are treated and thus require permits. If permits are not obtained the signage is considered illegal and is subject to the same fines and violations associated will illegal billboards.

Recently I found a stop work order plastered on top of a large vinyl building wrap for Western Union on the corner of 22nd street. It seemed that with good reason, the DOB was treating the advertisement like a billboard. Because the premises had not obtained the correct permit from the DOB, the sign was in violation. I was sure similar ads cropping up around the city were illegal as well but needed to find another similar ad so I could look at the DOB website for permit information. Sure enough today I ran across this illegal Snickers building wrap which has no permits and is larger than most billboards even in Times Square. Here is my complaint #1251002

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Can't Even Fathom This

VIA Animal New York

Ad Creep Update is a regular feature on ANIMAL documenting the spreading epidemic of advertising media placement into every nook and cranny of your daily life. Does the thought of staring down a 100 meter ski jump make you want to shit your pants? (Vinko Bogataj would probably evacuate before he got his ski pants down upon entering this stall.) Georgia Max canned coffee, a popular Coca-Cola brand in Japan, transformed bathroom stalls at some local ski resorts like so to promote the beverage. The translated branding on the toilet paper dispenser supposedly reads: "Seriously kick-ass intensely sweet for the real coffee super zinging unstoppable Max! Taste-explosion!" Okey-dokey. Drink Georgia Max, ski faster, gotcha. Also, being that it's a sweetened coffee drink, it probably helps your turd toboggans set indoor speed records, too. Image: coloribus

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