<body> Public Ad Campaign: How to Convert Illegal Third Parties Into Legal First Parties
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Sunday, May 3, 2009

How to Convert Illegal Third Parties Into Legal First Parties

Businesses that operate in the city usually affix some sort of sign to the building out of which they operate. This serves to warn the general public that they are located at this premises, as well as advertise to any passersby. We call this first party signage, and it's completely legal. The rules governing first party signage are things like size, lighting restrictions, etc.

Third party signage is any sign that advertises for a business that is not located on the premises to which the sign is attached. This sign is often paid for by an outdoor advertising company through rent to the landlord. This outdoor advertising company then essentially leases the space to advertisers for a premium, often times advertising for a business that may not even exist in the city in which the sign is placed. These signs are much more highly regulated and are the ones that PublicAdCampaign, and many other people take issue with.

Recently in an effort to raise issues about outdoor advertising, PublicAdCampaing organized the takeover of aproximately 120 NPA City Outdoor dedicated wildposting locations in New York City. We did so because while operating as third party signs, they had failed to get permits from the city and therefore were illegal. This allowed us a relative level of impunity, if not only in our minds.

It has been recently called to my attention that NPA, or maybe a company called CPI is attempting to get around this whole permitting, legality issue by simply making their third party advertising signs, first party business signs! How on earth could an sign, advertising anything from Nesquick to Star Trek, from I-pods to Skethchers, be a first party sign? The trick is that the products being shown aren't available in the building, but the actual posters which are advertising them, are.

89th street and 3rd avenue, or vicinity.

The Idea is, information regarding how to win these posters should be available through the business operating on the premises, or the building owner. In this fashion, a third party advertising sign ties itself to the physical location in a way that these companies will argue, legally makes them first party signs. I gotta say it's pretty darn genius. The first question we will get into, before we talk about how evident and obnoxious a legal move this is, is whether or not they will actually do the work to keep landlords and shop owners up to speed so that the "poster prize" business that is apparently being operated at these locations is actually legit.

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