<body> Public Ad Campaign: Contest Promotions - Perpetuating Lies In The Court Of Law
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, July 6, 2011

Contest Promotions - Perpetuating Lies In The Court Of Law

To all of those who read this blog regularly, I am sorry for the lack of posts this summer. I promise you it is not because I've been on vacation but rather I have been busy busy busy creating content and producing projects I will soon be at liberty to talk about.
Until then, I absolutely have to write this post on Contest Promotions and the bold faced lies which helped them win their recent case against the city of New York. After first hearing about this cases resolution and I am assuming appeal, I made a quick post. I was, to say the least, outraged by what can only be described as extreme truth bending and or in my opinion outright lies.
Long story short, National Promotions of America was operating an illegal street level advertising business. The city of New York demanded that they remove the illegal signage or face the full penalty of the law, potentially millions of dollars in fines. NPA then morphed into Contest Promotions and began operating on a legally suspect new business model. NYC did not accept this new business model and again demanded the signs removal. Contest Promotions, operating without regard for law or public opinion sued the city, demanding that they recognize this new and outrageously contentious business model. This new business model purported that Contest Promotions signage was in fact not advertising at all but a new form of accessory business signage that was integral to the operation of small business' all over the five boroughs. Their preliminary statement opens with…
"This is an Article 78 petition challenging the New York City Department of Buildings’ arbitrary, irrational and illegal determination that Petitioner Contest Promotions’ business model violates the City’s Zoning Resolution. Specifically, the Department has concluded that Contest Promotions does not employ “accessory signs,” as defined by the City’s Zoning Resolution, but instead relies on impermissible “advertising signs.” In so doing—and in attempting to shield its determination from judicial review—the Department has engaged in a campaign to shut down Contest Promotions’ business without legal justification. More troubling still, the Department’s untenable position directly harms small businesses across the City, which rely on such accessory signs to attract customers and compete against large chain retailers, and it undermines the Bloomberg Administration’s stated policies aimed at helping small businesses “in all five boroughs weather these tough times and avoid having to lay off employees or shut down altogether.” Ex. A (EDC Press Release). Indeed, the Department’s crackdown on these small businesses for using accessory signs to generate more customers and revenue is particularly misguided coming as it does when the stores need support more than ever because they are struggling to survive."
So according to Contest Promotions, their signs are used to attract customers into businesses in order to make purchases, build customer loyalty, and generally promote the establishment to which the sign refers. The examples they present as evidence are laughable as I will go on to show later in this post, but suffice to say they chose a very helpful incidence where their advertising signage happened to be somewhat associated with the business to which it was affixed. This singular case was the only evidence I know of that was presented and to me represents an attempt to misinform the court. Below one can see an orange juice advertisement which is affixed to a grocery store, a pairing which happens rarely if ever.
So lets take a look at what is really going on in the streets and not what Contest Promotions has chosen to present as evidence of its operations. Remember that line about Mom & Pop bodegas? The first example I'm giving is a Porno shop called The Exotica. The sign that is supposedly accessory to this business is located around the corner nearly 200 feet from The Erotica's entrance with a camera shop in between. Signage here usually consists of the band posters, music ads and movie posters that have little if not nothing to do with the establishment to which they refer.

The next example is also typical of CP signage which often is placed in parking lots. While no advertising signage could possibly refer back to this type of business, I would like to point out how far from a Mom & Pop establishment a huge parking conglomerate is. As well I would like to take this moment to ask how a movie poster for the upcoming Smurfs movie draws business to this establishment.
As a third example we actually have a local deli but again the proximity of the CP signage to the actual store makes accessory business a laughable term when applied in this instance, not to mention that the signage is for movies and music which have nothing to do with sandwiches and beer. Take note of the CP sign on the far right hand of the frame behind the green awning. Two stores fall between the sign and the business to which it is associated, located directly behind the lamp post.
Last is signage for Red Bull which is affixed to the most local and possibly longest operating bar in Williamsburg. This local haunt which is not friendly to the newly imported hipsters does not serve Red Bull let me tell you and surely has nothing to do with the typical advertising for music and movies which is Contest Promotions bread and butter. These examples represent a random selection taken as I go about my average day.
While I have not been adamant about shooting CP signs for this post, I did manage to snap these few images as I wander the city. What these random photos show is that the entire case that Contest Promotions built is a total sham. A blinding of the law through highly edited content that shows not only disrespect for our city but reveals the true nature of a company which purports to look out for Mom & Pops in light of the big box retail onslaught. What might prove Contest Promotions' dedication to local establishments it says it is keeping in business is a monthly rent check for more than $50.00, which is what building owners are paid for the large billboards to be erected on the sides of their properties.
Read the full CP document [Here]

Labels: , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like Contest Promotions pulled the document you were linking to. I'm assuming you downloaded it. Can you upload it to your server and post the link?

That's a super suspicious move on their part. If they actually believe what they presented to the judge, they should be willing to stand by it publicly. But their prompt document take down raises some major questions about their truthfulness.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

      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