<body> Public Ad Campaign: Times Square Art Square: Ad Takeover and Potential Test Of Public Will
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Times Square Art Square: Ad Takeover and Potential Test Of Public Will

Animal New York is reporting on the new Kick Starter drive and video release from the Times Square Art Square project. This reminded me that I had spoken to Justus a while back after having been forward over to him by Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere. For some reason we were going to meet and then our email conversation went cold. Ill recontact him out of curiosity but the reminder on AnimalNY begs a post. When Justus explained the project a while back it seemed not only an opportunity to takeover the biggest advertising location in the world but also an interesting social media experiment.

"...So we joined up with friends in Amsterdam and set up a foundation, and now we are trying to get as many people worldwide to join us on either Facebook or stay in contact with us via any other network; as the fact is there're about 500 million people on Fb, and we could a get a million or so to like us and have them donate, we'd be able to buy several hours on all the billboards. (a second is about $300, depending on the season.)"

Could enough people "like" an idea on Facebook or retweet a video enough times that a network so vast could be created that donations of pennies would be enough to will Times Square into a public art playground? I like this idea because it demands a place for art in public space, the problem is we end up paying for that privilege. If Successful, Times Square Art Square would be an incredible spectacle and a powerful statement, I would just hate to see that amount of money and potential social media power harnessed to pay for advertising space. It seems like the money this project would require could be used for better purposes.

That said, proving that large scale social media networks could rework the power relationship in a such a tightly controlled environment like Times Square is pretty incredible. It also begs the question why we cant do something more profound with such a large network of people? The amount of money it would require to take over all the ads in Times Square for even a small amount of time could do a lot of things. Large scale donation networks could instantly fund individual community programs, with minuscule donations from each party. And maybe thats the point of Times Square Art Square in a lot of ways. Replacing all of the advertisement seems an odd way to blow a few million bucks, but instantly funding a social program on a similar model would suddenly seem negligent if we couldn't make it happen.

I love the potential for this idea. Please check out the Time Square Art Square Video and try to make a donation to the KickStarter Campaign.

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