<body> Public Ad Campaign: June 2010
This blog is a resource for ad takeover artists and information about contemporary advertising issues in public space. If you have content you would like to share, please send us an email.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kid Zoom Bus Shelter Takeovers

I am consistently impressed with the sheer amount of unauthorized work happening over outdoor advertising these days. Phonebooths, bus shelters, billboards and myriad other forms of outdoor advertising structures seem fair game for public re-appropriation. That said, I was just turned on to the artwork of Kid Zoom from Sydney Australia. It seems his ad structure of choice is the bus shelter.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Graffiti Finds a Way to Take Its Fair Share of Outdoor Media Space

If the last post was about the city relinquishing control of our visual landscape to the highest bidder, then this post is an indication that the public will not take it lying down. Although these billboards along the BQE have been empty and white for quite some time, unauthorized use by graffiti artists reflects their interest in using outdoor media spaces for their own communications, permission or not.
Gaia writes on Vandalog, "My man Rambo has been blessing quite a few billboards along the BQE as of late. Enjoy the adventure virtually and keep your eyes up if you re in queens or brooklyn, whether looking for graff spots or not." Via Lunapark, Lukwam and Changsterdam

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Graffiti Trains VS Ad Wrapped Trains: What a Shame

Animal New York reports that it has been 21 years since the MTA implemented its clean train policy in an effort to end graffiti ridden subway cars. The program was put in place because it was thought the graffiti contributed to a sense of degrading social control resulting in high NYC crime rates and the general economic plight. To the MTA and the city at large, these public murals literally signified a loss of control. The truth was less succinct and the Graffiti was arguably a profound contribution to the landscape of our transit system as well as a cutting edge art form developing right before our eyes. Nonetheless, bureaucratic control stepped in to eliminate the "threat".
Now instead of the cutting edge art by local urban artists (for free), corporate america is adorning our subways with much less interesting aesthetic creations. If the graffiti wrapped subway cars signified a loss of bureaucratic control, the ad wrapped trains represent a loss of public control of our subway system and visual culture at large. The fact that in an aggressive move the city wiped out the artistic productions of our cities youth and only 21 years later wholeheartedly supports commercial abuse of public space, speaks volumes about the state of our public spaces in general. For whom do these spaces serve? What values do our public environments promote when commerce is held in higher esteem than the residents of our city?
In 1989, the MTA implemented its most successful strategy for eliminating graffiti from the transit system bypulling painted trains from service, denying the roving canvasses an opportunity to traverse the city. Well, 21 years later, that era is over, assuming the ones doing the graphics are paid advertisers, like this fully wrapped whole car promoting Target’s new store in East Harlem. |Photo: SAS|

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Monday, June 28, 2010

The Naked City: More Supergraphic Signs Disappear

Los Angeles has been making some amazing strides towards controlling the proliferation of illegal supergraphics, thanks in no small part to Dennis Hathaway and his unprecedented dedication.
Supergraphic "Sex and the City 2" ad being removed from Santa Monica Blvd. office building Northbound travelers on the 405 freeway in West L.A. might be asking what happened to the supergraphic signs that used to be stretched across the face of a 12-story office building on adjacent Sepulveda Blvd., advertising such products as movies, cellphones, ... [More Here]

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My Life, My Death, My Billboard

BLF is at it again.

June 27, 2010
San Francisco

The Billboard Liberation Front (BLF) is honored to announce a new marketing partnership with Philip Morris (PM) that finally brings together the rugged sense of American independence with your most important choice as a consumer: your death. The message of “My Life. My Death. My Choice.” informs and empowers the consumer to choose, as their god given right, how they want to die. Philip Morris brings this message to the consumer to remind them that some rights are inalienable in life as they are in death.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Smart License Plates: A Very Dumb Idea?

VIA The Anti Advertising Agency

Do you think the idea of California license plates than can show electronic ads is:

1. A great idea, about time.

2. Possibly questionable, but let’s study it.

3. One of the top ten worst ideas of all time.

If you answered yes to #1, don’t bother reading further. If you answered yes to #2, you’re in line with 25 California State Senators who voted to do just that, study the idea. If you answered yes to #3, you can spend the rest of the day (or evening) pondering how woefully befuddled those legislators are to even spend a minute contemplating the idea.

The perpetrator-in-chief is Los Angeles area Senator Curren Price, who apparently sniffs some revenue for a state in perpetual budget crisis as well as perpetual paralysis between cutting spending and raising taxes. How much revenue? Who knows? In numerous news articles on the subject, Price is quoted as saying that he’s only proposing a study of the idea, and that the study will not be funded by the state? Huh? Who will fund it, then? And how will that affect the objectivity of the study’s conclusions?

Here’s the legislative analysis of the proposal. And below is one of the TV news pieces on the issue, with pros (gulp) and cons.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

UnderOneHundred Micro-Grant-PosterChild's Truth In Advertising

Typical NPA/Contest Promotions Placard
Back In February PosterChild created an altered placard for the NPA city outdoor illegal street level billboards. He was aware of the fact that these placards were a lie being perpetrated on NY City by NPA as it made its transition to a new company called Contest Promotions. Under this new company, NPA's illegal operations would be shut down and only those that could pretend to be running a raffle box would remain through a twisting of legal language. PosterChild's single placard flew under the radar while still informing the public of NPA's little secret, in a stark contrast to more overt actions we tend to carry out here at PublicAdCampaign. Needless to say, I wanted to see more.
At this same time I had been toying with the idea of running a micro-grant program. The grant would be on a rolling submission/review basis and the only stipulations would be that projects facilitate critical public interaction with outdoor advertising, and cost under one hundred dollars. Along with this small amount of production money PublicAdCampaign would help by tapping any resources we might have which could facilitate potential projects. PosterChild's Truth In Advertising was a natural choice. In total the entire project ended up costing $91.48 and produced about 40 fake placards. You can see all of the images [Here]
I would like to thank PosterChild for inaugurating this micro-grant program with such a fantastically simple and effective project. In doing so I would also like to open up the next cycle of grant submissions. A clever idea can go a long way, alter how people think about the spaces they live in, and change what they come to expect from the streets that surround them. We hope that even in a small way we can facilitate this process and enrich the cities of this world with innovative and fun public works. Please take a look at the simple guidelines for submitting a proposal [Here]

PosterChild Install-Spend Your Money Elsewhere
More Bullshit You Didn't Ask For
Deface, Improve, Remove

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New Website Launch

If you have been redirected to an unfamiliar page when visiting www.publicadcampaign.com, don't worry we have only launched a new portion of the site. Visiting the blog can be done by simply going to http://daily.publicadcampaign.com or following the daily blog button off of our new main page. With an interest in making PublicAdCampaign's work more visible, we hope this new format will allow people to more readily access our past as well as current street and gallery projects. If your blog reader simply sends you here automatically, please visit the new PublicAdCampaign site to see past and present projects.

Also please note the site is unfinished and will undergo more changes and additions in the weeks to come.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Shrooms Graffiti in the Bay Area

Image VIA Endless Canvas

People have different opinions on Graffiti in public space. Arguments against it often focus on the blighting aspects, its lack of aesthetics, and its relation to crime or gang activity. I understand the concerns regarding scrawl that is haphazardly placed by heavy bombing and a lack of attention to other peoples experience of their public environment, but unlike most people I see this problem as a symptom of a need, rather than an interest in wanton destruction. The need I speak of is the public's obvious desire to use public space as both a canvas for artwork as well as a venue for public communication. There is a basic need to visually interact with the spaces you live in, evidenced by a history of artistic public practices that includes graffiti. When those actions are criminalized and spaces are overrun by private communications, a competition arises between public and private forces. This Shroom piece is evidence of this battle and I am always excited to see graffiti taking on these politics instead of simply bombing every street corner.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Leo Kesting-Dead Letter Playground Group Show

pencil and pastel on used books
It has been a long time since I exhibited work in a gallery setting. On New Years of this year I decided it was time to try it again alongside all of the public projects and large scale civil disobedience actions. I have several group shows and a solo show coming up in November that I am very excited about and look forward to sharing with everyone. Thursday the 24th I am in a group show at the Leo Kesting gallery called Dead Letter Playground. I am super excited to be exhibiting with such a respected group of urban artists, many whom I have worked with on past and present projects, but never had an opportunity to hang alongside in a gallery. As gallery work is often difficult for a project that must find a way to combat outdoor advertising in public space, I have come up with a way to bring my street activities into the gallery space. I hope to see everyone there.

Leo Kesting Gallery Presents:
Dead Letter Playground:
A Collection of Contemporary Street Art
June 24 – July 18, 2010
Opening Night Reception: Thur, June 24 from 7-10pm
812 Washington St (at Gansevoort) NY, NY 10014
8th Ave A, C, E and L train Stop or 1, 2, 3 to 14th St
Tue – Sat 11am - 7pm, Sun 1 – 6pm
Admission is free to the public
Phone: 917-650-3760 / 917-292-8865

View the Catalog

Having left the gallery model for free form street installations, a narrative of artwork is grouped and reconstructed in a reverse white wall format late June at the Leo Kesting Gallery. The collection of prints, illustrations, paintings and installations takes its name Dead Letter Playground as a reference to the tactile paper quality of most works and the open letter format that street art has embraced as building dialog with the public.

”This collection adheres to the gallery's principles of showcasing the most contemporary urban figurative works. These artists alter their surrounding environments, using public install as catalyst for positive reform,” states gallery co-director David Kesting. ”In contrast to dead letters not reaching their readers, these artworks embrace a playground of viewer’s eyes and an earnest public wanting more.”

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Nofi Ad Takeovers Los Angeles 06-08

Daniel Nofi got in touch with us after finding the PublicAdCampaign while searching for PosterBoy related information. He sent me some images of work he did from 06-08 in Los Angeles. My favorite moment is the text that reads "I would be so scared if I had to fuck this chick." I'm not sure if he is referring to the beautiful woman that once adorned the ad or the ugly devil he converted her to. Either way I am often struck by a similar sentiment when looking at fashion advertising. These girls are just not in a league anyone but Leonardo DiCaprio would feel comfortable dating.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

When NPA Leaves, Opportunities Abound

This is what the corner of 10th avenue and 26th street looked like before NPA was forced to take down its illegal signage and succumb to the pressures of concerned NYC residents. Part of the NYSAT project was done with an interest in freeing these spaces of commercial messaging in hopes that they would be used for public works. Sadly we have not seen as much public work as we would like to see, but that isn't due of lack of interest, it's more a lack of resources and the illegality of public participation in the curation of our shared environment.

That said, this is what the location looks like today as a result of Betten's newest piece. I think the change is wonderful, and a fantastic example of the difference between commercial use of public space versus public use.

BETTEN in NYC. Photo by a friend of the artist

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Empty Billboard Found While walking Across America

Jason Eppink Just sent us this wonderful image taken by a friend of his who is on a long hike. Jason writes...
My friend is walking across America and took a photo of a billboard with
text but an empty (literally missing) image.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Public Art Murals: Can Portland Model Solve Legal Dilemma in Los Angeles?

The legal black hole into which public art murals have fallen is a source of frustration and even anger for L.A. artists, art organizations, and politicians in areas where murals are significant elements of cultural history and objects of community pride. Sometimes called the mural capital of the world, the city is rapidly losing that distinction to such cities as Philadelphia, which have thriving public programs to encourage new murals and preserve and restore existing ones endangered by ravages of weather and vandalism. [More Here]

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Fresh stuff from OX in Paris

98 Avenue A, Those Empty White Boxes, And The New Contest Promotions Model

It has been a while since we posted about NPA City Outdoor (you will notice they have removed their website despite the fact that they still operate in several US cities) and their sister company Contest Promotions. There have been some interesting developments and I think they are worth noting for our readers. Very briefly, NPA has dissolved in NYC, stopped illegally wildposting construction sites, and nearly halved its inventory in an attempt to operate under the guise of legality. This is in part due to the NYC Sign Enforcement Unit and also the actions of all the amazing NYSAT participants that took it upon themselves to protest NPA's illegal commercial land grab. Here are a few more detailed accounts of recent activities associated with the illegal outdoor advertising company and how they are continuing to abuse public space under false pretenses.
-Remember 98 Avenue A on the Lower East Side? It is where two people were arrested for white washing an illegal NPA street level billboard during the first NYSAT project. It is also where the landlord was facing nearly $250,000.00 in violations from the NYC DOB Sign Enforcement Unit. After defying a stop work order, and removing the illegal signage himself, the landlord was still facing massive fines from the city until just recently. Having worked directly with the landlord to resolve this issue, I am told all violations have been dropped.
-Directly after dissolving as a company in NYC, NPA whited out many of the blatantly illegal advertising locations they had been operating in the city. This left white billboards haphazardly strewn across mostly Manhattan. Sadly, with an outdoor media landscape seen as off limits to public use, even these perfect white canvases were only taken advantage of a few times. These billboards have since been removed.
-In order to keep a good portion of their inventory, NPA morphed into Contest Promotions to avoid having to go through NYC, LA, and San Francisco's Departments of Buildings to obtain 3rd party sign permits. I would assume they knew that these cities would not be forthcoming with 3rd party advertising permits after having been taken advantage of for so long. In order to circumvent this important check on outdoor advertising media, Contest Promotions purports that the illegal advertising signage on the sides of local business in our cities are actually representations of raffle prizes available inside the store, ostensibly converting the advertisements to 1st party signage. They go so far as to say that these raffles play an important role in the fight for mom and pop businesses in our age of super chains and mega marts. (read what they say here) San Francisco recently challenged this ludicrous claim and sadly a judge did not fully support the city as reported by Ban Billboard Blight.
From what I have been told, NYC will file its own lawsuit against Contest Promotions challenging the notion that the signs retained by this company are still in fact third party signage and do not comply with NYC law. In my travels around the city I have come across a few blatant examples which highlight how absurd Contest Promotions' claim to 1st party signage is.
The first example is this giant Hendricks Gin billboard which is adhered to the side of a coffee shop at 27th street and 6th avenue. Are we to believe that Contest Promotions thinks that a gin ad in some way draws a crowd into this coffee establishment, allowing them to "compete" with other coffee sellers? And if so are we also to believe that Caffe Roast Bean, a chain coffee seller, is actually a mom and pop business? Along with this, there is no raffle box available in this establishment which is the hypothetical link between the outdoor signage and the business upon which it is located. To me this is a clear indication of the lies Contest Promotions is operating under.

The second glaring inconsistency in Contest Promotions claim to legality is this massive street level billboard for the movie Grown Ups, adhered to the side of a parking lot. Despite there being a raffle box at this location, are we to believe that this signage in any way helps this business, which by the way is not what I would personally call a local mom and pop shop.
The whole Contest Promotions business model is a lie. They are twisting the law in order to continue to abuse public space with commercial media. It is yet another example of how commercial media flouts our current laws and in doing so thumbs its nose at the public at large. All of this is made even more disgusting through the language of altruism espoused by the company. To allow Contest Promotions to continue to operate under such conditions is to allow commercial media to make its own rules in our public space and to grant them carte blanche access to our shared environment. It is nothing more than an outright abuse of each and every citizen that lives in this great city for the sake of a few individuals reaping massive profits off of our collective thoughts.
If you are as outraged by this as I am, I would suggest contacting the NYC Sign Enforcement Unit and logging your complaint with the city. (212) 566-4567

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Billboard Liberation Front "I'm Sick Of It"

The BLF announces a new project.
Kill Them All. Hyde and California


June 6, 2010
San Francisco

The Billboard Liberation Front (BLF) and the McDonald’s Corporation (MCD) have launched a new advertising improvement campaign. The initiative features a bold new slogan, “I’m Sick of It,” and is designed to counter the brand-negatives that have gnawed at MCD since the release of irresponsible attack-films like “Supersize Me” and “Food, Inc.” By embracing the traditional American values of conformity, convenience, and mediocrity, it is intended to reverse the damage done by the nay-saying health-Nazis and cow-hugging America-haters who have taken a bite out of MCD’s market share and hounded its beloved corporate mascot Ronald McDonald into exile.

“In an uncertain world, customers want comfort and sameness in their eating habits,” the spokesclown observed, speaking from the cramped office he shares with fellow expatriate Joe Camel. “It’s not just about portion size, though that’s still important. In these troubled times it’s more about familiarity, about conformity, and most of all about not taking any risks. MCD has responded to that shift in consumer attitudes, and has reengineered its product line to reflect a culinary landscape that prides itself on mediocrity.” Mr. Camel, speaking through a throat-tube, added: “McDonald’s is the cardiologist of America’s destiny.”

To accomplish this historic turnaround, McDonald’s turned to the re-branding experts at BLF, America’s premier Advertising Improvement Agency. “It’s time for McDonald’s to retake the cultural High Ground,” explained BLF Recreative Director ______ deCoverly. “They’ve been on the defensive for years, using generic ‘lifestyle’ ads that deny their core values. Now they’re fighting back, and reclaiming their cultural legacy.”

Unashamed to take a bold stance on America’s milquetoast taste, McDonald’s and the Billboard Liberation Front proudly unveil their new campaign: “I’m Sick of It.” The initial improvement can be seen at the corner of California and Hyde in San Francisco.

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

You Cannot Walk Away From "Reverse Graffiti" Advertising

If you think you can avoid advertising by, say, staring down at your feet as you walk through the urban landscape, you're out of luck. Sure, you won't see the billboards overhead, the skinny trucks that are really rolling billboards, or the dudes handing out flyers for various establishments of dubious pedigree. What you will see, however, are "reverse graffiti" ads, pressure washed onto sidewalks where, once upon a time, all you'd see were gum wrappers, dog poop and the occasional Obey Giant stencil. [More Here]

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Princess Hijab Still Working The Streets of Paris

Continuing her advance on the Parisian transit system, Princess Hijab sent us her most recent takeovers.
credit photo A. Breant

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TrustoCorp Hits Detroit And Rings A Bell

I've known about TrustoCorp and the people behind the vision for a while now, but have yet to post about it. I try to keep this site about work happening over advertising so that it doesn't become another street art blog and retains an interest in dissecting the differences between public space use by citizens versus corporate interests, critically looking at street art as opposed to aestheticizing it. I also thought that the NYC TrustoCorp projects content was a bit aggressive, but then again we sponsor and promote full on private property takeovers so who am I to talk about aggressive use of public space.

That said I have become increasingly interested in artist and activist projects that treat the city as canvas, playground, and or political soapbox, in an organized way. Projects like Paper Girl, V-tarp, and the like, have a way of demanding a public media presence without going through typical channels of consent. They also present an alternative to the individual artist based public space consumption seen with graffiti and street art, and they challenge notions of what types of agencies we might allow access to the curation of our shared environments. As advertising demands full control over our outdoor media environment, partially through the criminalization of unauthorized artistic practices, and partially through the public/private relationships that Kurt Iverson talks about in his paper Branded Cities, these projects are an important part of resisting the enclosure of public space.

And so, check out the TrustoCorp Flikr page. The most recent version in Detroit is uplifting and melts so seamlessly into the city infrastructure you almost wouldn't know it is there, or that it wasn't done through official channels. Blurring the line between authorized and unauthorized projects seems one way of erasing that line completely in the future.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Scented billboard aims to lead shoppers by the nose

In an effort to control your experience of public space and optimize your reception of commercial messages, outdoor advertising is always finding new and not so clever ways to advertise. Often kept to purely visual methods, outdoor advertising has recently begun experimenting with other sense including sound and now smell.

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      Sharon Zukin
      The Cultures of Cities

      Miriam Greenberg
      Branding New York

      Naomi Klein
      No Logo

      Kalle Lasn
      Culture Jam

      Stuart Ewen
      Captains of Consciousness

      Stuart Ewen
      All Consuming Images

      Stuart & Elizabeth Ewen
      Channels of Desire

      Jeff Ferrell
      Crimes of Style

      Jeff Ferrell
      Tearing Down the Streets

      John Berger
      Ways of Seeing

      Joe Austin
      Taking the Train

      Rosalyn Deutsche
      Evictions art + spatial politics

      Jane Jacobs
      Death+Life of American Cities