<body> Public Ad Campaign: January 2008

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Nike ACG Nieghborhood Billboard Collaboration

Bringing light to the Nike ACG Boots “The Strength Inside” campaign, Nike Sportswear partnered with a handful of high school teens in and around New York City, Philadelphia and Baltimore to create a photographic journal representing the concept of “What strength means to you”. The Center for Arts Education (NYC) and the Peace and Love (Philly/B-more) organization brought over 250 kids together for the billboard campaign as one picture from the following neighborhoods/cities were chosen: Queens, Harlem, Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Baltimore. The winning entries from each city/borough will have their images displayed on billboards during the month of January in 2009. Two of the winners seen here include Brooklyn winner Kimone Napier (Billboard located at the corner of Flatbush Ave. & Washington Ave., Brooklyn, NY) and Queens winner Cindy Bencosme (Billboard located at the corner of Jamaica Ave & Sutphin Blvd, Queens, NY).

Giving children access to their own forms of personal communication in the public is a vital way to invigorate peoples investment in their community and public space. Not only do the children understand how their ideas can become a part of the public dialogue but also others within the community bear witness to alternative voices controlling the subject matter of visual communication. It can be extremely empowering to individuals and communities alike and should not be taken lightly. This video of Tom14 speaks to the importance of such community interaction.


How then do we consider this project, which is a stunt for Nike, but yet still a legitimate community project? I don't feel able to fully discredit this project solely on the basis of it being advertising because if all outdoor advertising was done similarly, the city would be a much different place. In fact this change in where outdoor visual content is taken from would result in the great businesses of our communities becoming the curators of our cities art and ideas. Instead of simplistic on way messages meant to steal your attention, companies would gain time in our thoughts by bringing the most interesting content to our city streets.

It's a novel idea and one which can make you imagine how other uses of our public environment might suite the city better without directly changing any of the more rigid power structures which exist in a commodity based market system.

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