<body> Public Ad Campaign: January 2011
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.

Monday, January 31, 2011

City Pays to Shovel Bus Shelters Cemusa Is Supposed to Shovel

That shelter ain't shoveled (via kiertorata's flickr
When the Spanish company Cemusa landed the $1 billion, 20-year deal to sell ads on NYC street furniture (newsstands, bus shelters, public toilets) the company apparently agreed to also maintain the areas around the furniture. Which means if you want to blame someone for the fact that nobody ever shoveled your bus stop (let alone the mountain of snow in front of it), blame Cemusa. [More Here]

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Plateau bans billboards in unanimous vote

Our good friends at Pattison outdoor, as well as CBS and Astral media are doing what most outdoor ad companies do best when politely asked to remove offensive signage, put up a fight. It seems in the Plateau area in Montreal residents are in favor of the removal of 45 large billboards. Upon the cities request for their removal, "Jeannot Lefebvre, who speaks for the industry group, promises a long legal battle if Plateau Mont-Royal borough insists on pursuing their intention – a legal battle that will cost the taxpayers."

Wow! Did she just say that she would argue for a minority of non-local constituents intent on claiming the rights to property in which they have little social and aesthetic interest, in the face of overwhelming local support for their removal from individuals whose contact with that property has a direct affect on the quality and culture of the environment in which they live? And did she say she didn't care if the fight cost these local constituents a lot of money? That seems like a poor PR move and the unanimous decision by the borough council to move forward with this ban seems to uphold this view.
This type of behavior is not unusual with outdoor advertising companies intent on reaping profits off of public space despite resistance from local communities. What I find interesting is that outdoor advertising companies seem to realize that they are treading a thin line between a public unaware of the control they have over their environment, and a public awakened to their political and communal powers to demand control over how they live. While it doesn't seem prudent to fight in the face of such strong opposition, relinquishing control so easily could result in many more bans around the country and world. After all these are multinational companies with an interest in more than a single borough of Montreal, but rather maintaining a culture of outdoor media acceptance.
CTV Montreal [Article]
CBC New [Article]

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Art Of Public Space

Luna Park recently sent me an article from the Nation published in the fall of 2009 after NYC had begun its little traffic experiment in Times Square. I had not seen the article before and thought it appropriate for the PublicAdCampaign site. What I find interesting is the authors understanding that in order to create a worthwhile and healthy public environment we must enlist both artists and the public in the physical creation of that space. He intuitively understands that in order for a public to enage a public space they must feel able to participate in its creation. This creative input is what draws them in both physically and psychologically. Read the full article [Here]

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Work I Had To Share

Right now I'm hard at work on several curatorial projects and I look forward to sharing them soon. While these responsibilities are keeping me extremely busy I have been trying to carve out a little time to continue making work. This recent phone booth piece isn't quite finished but I'm so happy with where it is headed that I thought I'd share. Materials include book pages, foam core spray paint, etched glass and LED lights. The legs are made not by drawing but by using the relief to create shadow. I'm particularly happy with how the LED's create an old sign sensibility and am working on making them flicker ever so slightly as old signs tend to do when they begin to age. Enjoy!

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I Want To See Something Else

I was recently informed about the I Want To See Something Else project in Helsinki. This legal advertising takeover was organized through Facebook and harnessed public interest to purchase advertising space in an effort to display public sentiment. Similar in concept to the Times Square Art Square project but on a much smaller scale, this project has brought social media into the realm of public space activism. While I am all for a project like this, such blatant anti commercial messages would have a hard time making it to the streets in the US where advertising companies are very sensitive to politically charged media and or any critique of the OOH advertising format.
“Outdoor advertising isn’t consumed. People are exposed to it”, “When people are out and about, that’s where you’ll find us. When you’re out of doors, you are constantly interacting with your environment and open to stimuli”
(JCDecaux Finland website)
“Haluan nähdä muutakin” (I want to see something else) is a project conquering a little part of the commercial outdoor media back to the people. For one week, 21 bus and tram stops in downtown Helsinki will bear a non-commercial message. 1458 people participated in renting them for one week – at 5896.62 euros, the average contribution was 4.20€ per person. The word was spread through a Facebook page from the beginning of December. Within 1.5 months, the page reached almost 6000 fans and it took only two weeks to collect the needed amount of money.
The text in the posters says in Finnish: “I want to see something else – 1458 people wanted to free this space from commercial purposes for a week”. In addition, the poster displays 1311 messages from the participants – telling what they would like to see instead in urban space. The “bus/tram stop exhibition” takes place 24–30 January 2011. Visit website [Here]

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Tune In Tonight! Radio Provocateur Interview

Tune in tonight for PublicAdCampaign's second appearance on Radio Provocateur. This weekly hour long radio broadcast, brought to you by Danny Valdes, highlights radical politics and activist agendas. We will be speaking about what has happened with PublicAdCampaign over the last year and what we have in store for 2011.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You've Still Got A Week to Submit!

A while back I was asked to judge an upcoming billboard competition that is taking place in conjunction with the Equilibrium printmaking conference in Saint Louis at the Sam Fox School of Design. There is only one week left until submissions are due so if the feeling strikes you, submit before February 1st! Ill be heading out to Saint Louis in mid March for a panel discussion and will snap some great pics of the winning entry. Oh and according to one of the organizers, the SGC membership fee is being waived for people not attending the conference that still want to apply.
"Equilibrium: Writ Large is a billboard competition presented in conjunction with the 2011 SGC International Conference, hosted by Washington University in St. Louis. The billboard, which will be installed at Good Citizen Gallery in St. Louis from March 1-31, 2011, will address the conference theme Equilibrium—an exploration of the challenges, fluctuating forces, and continuity of print in the 21st century. The jurors are Jordan Seiler, founder of Public Ad Campaign, and Andrew James, director of Good Citizen Gallery."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Antipub: Montauban et les 400 panneaux-petit documentaire

Sadly I do not speak French so I was not able to enjoy this video, but I get the gist. I had a nice dinner with one of the activists involved in the Antipub movement a while back and he explained their organization well. For those who do speak French, please enjoy, and tell me what you think in the comments. http://paysagesdefrance.org

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Public Media Space - Billboard Regulation History and New Possibilities

After reading Mr. Biermann's paper, the Battle of LA, I was struck by two passages that brought me to two other papers Mr. Biermann referenced in his work. One was Judging the Aesthetics of Billboards, by David Burnett and the other Property in the Horizon: The Theory and Practice of Sign and Billboard Regulation, by Jacob Loshin. The first details the history of the sign, its seemingly inevitable metamorphosis into outdoor advertising, public discontent, and subsequent legal strategies dealing with its regulation. The second more closely examines New Haven Connecticut's relationship to signs through the land use issues associated with erecting signage. Mr. Loshin promotes a moderate middle path to regulation based on private nuisance lawsuits, (civic backlash) appropriate taxation, and other light zoning restrictions in order to balance the nuisance costs (detrimental affect to public welfare) with the prevention costs, (neglecting business' public access) thus enabling us to balance the unwanted use of public space with the needs and rights of private landowners to use their property for outdoor advertising purposes. Interestingly the second paper, concentrating on a largely rural environment, raises some interesting reasons for why billboards in our cities should be defined differently from those that litter our roadways and commercial oases.
Mr. Loshin's moderate conclusion (understandably as he is a lawyer and not an activist) is based largely on the notion that commercial signage has some important reasons for existing, mostly associated with its informational value, and therefore should be allowed under 1st amendment law in which the consumer has the right to consumer information like any other form of speech. This potential benefit is then weighed against the more abstract public nuisance and aesthetic issues which often define anti billboard regulation. Since the aesthetic nuisance is spread thin amongst a population of many, particularly on highways, the negative costs for each individual might not add up to the benefit associated with the information gained as well as very real need a business might have to attract customers along such thoroughfares. How then are we to allow the sort of zealotry associated with early anti billboard campaigners like the Scenic Sisters who sought total control of outdoor advertising for the virtuous and maybe selfish goals of scenic beauty or visual order?
I don't exactly know and truthfully, highway billboard advertising is not something I've spent a lot of time thinking about. In fact, Mr. Loshin makes some pretty persuasive arguments for the continued existence of outdoor advertising, albeit with some regulatory machinery in place enacted by local governments, or those most affected by individual signage issues. This notion of locality culminates in a Robert C. Ellickson quote recognizing that, "The placement and character of signs may depend to some extent on the informal norms that govern relationships between neighbors. The more tight-knit a community is, the less likely neighbors will perpetrate visual offenses on each other." In other words, a highway system might not constitute a viable community and therefore not coalesce with a unified response against infringing commercial signage. On the other hand a healthy tight-knit community will more likely respond to such infractions, seeing them as offenses to the community as a whole by an outside force, while simultaneously ostracizing those within the community who perpetrate unwanted visual offenses. Tight knit communities becoming the control mechanism able to judge the appropriateness of certain behaviors within a given space, in this case the erection of commercial signage.
What is interesting to me about this statement is that it draws a relationship between the collective voice of a community and the fight against external, non community based intrusions. The more closely knit a community, the more likely they are fight intrusion from outside parties and ultimately the more agency they have as a collective whole. I think it is obvious we want to promote nieghborhoodliness and community in our cities as there are clear social benefits to each. If a neighborhood is overrun by commercial signage this may not mean that there is no community, but a neighborhoods ability to fight the intrusion of commercial signage does speak to their collective abilities and community cohesiveness. While this does seem to be a over broad statement, the fact that there is even a grain of truth in it intrigues me. One might expect urban communities with a proliferation of commercial signage to be fractured or otherwise under stresses which outweigh concerns over visual blight and corporate thievery of public mental space. In this way, outdoor advertising can in some instances be used to judge the level of social cohesion in a particular area.
The first paper by David Burnett, interested me for different reasons. Taking us through the history of urban signage, Mr. Burnett follows the judiciary rulings over the past 125 some years that have reflected public opinions and thus the courts attitude towards sign regulation. Up until 1981 with the groundbreaking case of Metromedia vs San Diego, anti-billboard activists and the courts relied on aesthetic degradation of our public landscapes to challenge the billboard industries rampant growth. This was often tied up in the notion that aesthetics were an important part of social welfare and billboards that ruined the aesthetic qualities of our cities and country were violating public safety because of it. The 1981 ruling was one of the first instances where protection of commercial speech rights under 1st amendment law began to break down this accepted defense to commercial infestation. Sadly, this ruling now reflects the norm when it comes to outdoor advertising cases and was a major setback for billboard control. But that's not what interests me.
What I find compelling is that aesthetics are still used as an argument when anti billboard sentiment runs high. Take the Equinox gym debacle in the west village last year. Neighbors abhorred the billboard mostly for aesthetic reasons, and it was quickly removed. My question is in a city littered with signs of all kinds, graffiti, street art, murals, architecture, and eventually Augmented realities, can we still claim stake to our pastoral desires or quaint neighborhood conditions? My answer is no, particularly for the fact that I think media production of all kinds has a positive affect on our cities shared environment regardless of the aesthetics of the media production. Communication and dialogues created by the constant processing of public information enlivens the streets and the people who walk them. While this might seem like an endorsement for outdoor advertising, it is not. A distinct difference between public media and private media must be established and it is for this reason that we should argue against commercial media, not aesthetics.
If tight knit communities can prevent commercial media from entering their boundaries, the question is why might they do so? In today's world most outdoor advertising, and commercial media has little informational value other than brand recognition. While some scholars have argued that brand recognition is informational value, I disagree and therefore see most outdoor advertising as aggressive showmanship that holds little cultural worth and embodies few of the morals we as a public would like to promote for our shared culture. Therefore, I would rather not have these images enter my neighborhood not because they are ugly, but rather that they are imposing upon me a negative psychological affect and are therefore a visual offense to me. Speaking to this point, Mr. Loshin illuminates how private property does not automatically bestow property owners complete control over their property. In some instances the affects their property use has on the public are taken into consideration when determining how property can be used.
"...when we speak of property in the horizon, we are speaking of an entirely different resource than property in land. The unavoidable fact of signs is that they simultaneously “use” the land on which they rest and the land against which they abut. Since the principle of “use” cannot distinguish between the claims of either landowner, we are left with two options. Either we accept that ownership (distinguished from use) of land confers ownership in that land’s piece of the horizon, or we treat the horizon as a scarce public resource, the use of which should be determined by a separate set of rules. On this question, the analogy to pollution helps us clarify the nature of signs, and suggests the superiority of the latter approach. Since the horizon is more than the sum of its parts, there is a potential for landowners to overuse it. As signs proliferate, landowners deplete the resource of an uncluttered horizon, and thereby impose external costs on others. The problem with signs is not that they extract benefits from a publicly-provided roadway. Rather, like pollution, the problem is that they impose external costs by depleting a natural resource that is in some sense claimed by the public – the horizon."
Rather than aesthetics, public safety, or commercial free speech, billboard regulation should come down to the potential negative affects this media has on our communities and culture. As we have seen, commercial media might be an indication of fractured communities which is problematic, but it also can surely be seen as a wing of manipulative capitalism, altering our wants and desires without our full understanding. In todays commercially overburdened culture, it is hard to get people to understand this fact, but this might be the most important distinction that we can impart to people. We may be imbedded deep within a commercial culture, but our ability and interest in resisting this culture could be the key to keeping our shared identity intact in an environment trying to individualize our experience and make us pay attention to ourselves more than each other.
I would like to personally thank Mr. Loshin for taking the time to speak with me over the phone. While we did not come to any hard conclusions about advertising's affect on our collective psyche, this is the question I am most interested in. In order to confront the outdoor advertising problem, it is this issue of psychological detriment that to me holds the most water and will be the most successful when arguing against the encroachment of commercial media on our shared public spaces.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Spending Time With Posterchild

K-Skill has produced yet another "spending time with" video on an ad takeover artist in New York, PosterChild. Check out his site for more street art action and while you're at it watch him break it down in Dancing Drummer.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wellington Court Mural Project - A Stand Out Event

The Wellington Court Mural Project, organized by my friends Allison and Garrison Buxton in Queens New York, was recently highlighted by Kings Of New York. The project involved Urban artists from around the world in an effort to transform a graffiti blighted corner into a point of neighborhood pride. The video proves this to be a complete success and is highlighted by an interview with a local resident who witnessed the projects transformative values firsthand. While I am 100 percent behind this project, what is most interesting to me is the interview with Lady Pink (0:40-3:00) who speaks about artists ability to affect the neighborhoods they live in. She explains that often cultural funding is sequestered on the island of Manhattan while the outer boroughs are left with advertising and empty hands. She tells people not accept this situation and by any means necessary, to take back their neighborhoods using visual tactics. I love it!

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Jon Jackson, Adios LA

Unurth is reporting on a new billboard project by the artist Jon Jackson called Adios LA. While I love the lack of commercial messaging and the inherently ambiguous nature of these signs, I do want to say this is not a takeover. The fact that these signs are made of vinyl means they were installed by CBS and were probably donated, or were paid for. That said, I think this is fun work and while not nearly as exciting or as engaged as the A Love Letter For You project, or as critical of economic relationships as Cash For Your Warhol, it does provide the viewer an opportunity to imagine their city as another character in their lives. Operating from comfortably within the current system which perpetuates outdoor advertisings preeminence in public space, this work does not have the punch I expect from unauthorized actions. but I am willing to enjoy it simply as good public media. Thanks Jon.

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

NEKO - "Yo Soy NEKO. Y Tu?

Neko has been up to no good in Madrid and here is the proof. Photo courtesy of the artist...

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Katsu and Destroy/Rebuild ad takeovers

I'm not going to comment on this until the gallery exhibition is over, except to say I like it.
Via Vandalog

Katsu and Avone aka Destroy & Rebuild have a show on now at PowerHouse Arena in Brooklyn. To promote the show, they took over a number of phone booth advertisements in NYC. In the past, I’ve been known to criticize street artists for putting of posters promoting gallery shows when they could be doing street art...[More Here]

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500 Art Cabs or Only Art Cabs, It's Your Call

John Amato, President of Show Media has given NYC a 100,000.00 dollar gift this holiday season in the form of donated art space on cab toppers (which he owns). While it is hard to get upset about free art in the city where once ads loomed, lets take a look at why this is still a problem.

First, altruism aside, who does this really benefit? Amato says, "Art is a great passion of mine, and I am very fortunate to be in a place in my life where I can do this as my annual holiday gift not just to myself, but to everyone who enjoys seeing the art as it travels around New York City’s streets." While I cannot question Amato's real intentions, one has to expect that the 12,500 cabs that are roaming our streets with ads on them will benefit from the public eyes looking for the 500 art cabs also on our streets. Advertising is all about impressions and with a format as oblique and ultimately as dull as NYC cab toppers, any new reason to look at these advertisements can only be a boost for business. I would imagine that this type of "gift" increases the value of the rest of Mr. Amato's inventory and if not by direct increase in price, this "gift" will be used as a selling point when new potential clients come to make contracts with Show Media.
Secondly, why do we allow a system to perpetuate in which a little art is seen as a huge gift to our city? Do we not all yearn for a public space in which public art trumps commercial media as the preeminent visual form adorning our streets? As it were, I have been arguing with Michael Gitter of Mediacy about this for over a year now in regards to his Gatescape program. Long story short, Mr. Gitter has asked me to help curate his Gatescape advertising inventory with artwork. While I have yet to agree to this, my one stipulation is that the advertising serve the art, only guaranteed by a 51% art 49% ad split. Any other agreement would mean that the artwork is being used to promote an advertising business and this is all to typical of advertising art interactions.
The question I always ask is why do we have advertising at all? Wouldn't we all be happier with only art instead of this once in a blue moon gift we have become accustomed to, and seem to enjoy greatly? Impossible you say? who would pay for such a thing? lets take a look using NYC phone kiosks as an example of a potential year long street gallery.
Currently approximately 22,000 NYC phone kiosks are almost entirely operated by 2 major outdoor advertising companies, Titan media, and Van Wagner. These companies took control of the NYC phone kiosk advertising business after the city decided they were too big a hassle in a wave of privatization that happened in 1999. See NY Times article. In 2006 phone kiosk advertising made 62 million dollars. New York City gets 26% of this revenue, meaning we took home about 13.7 million dollars. (interestingly NYC phonebooth advertising is one of the few outdoor advertising structures which pays NYC a percentage of their profits. Normally ad companies keep all profit and the only way the public benefits from the aggressive commercial marketing on its streets is through tax revenue.) 49 million dollars is a lot of money going into someone else's pockets that could be used to put art on the streets. Lets think of how this might be done.
First we will need a revenue stream that will pay for the production of artwork and the infrastructure needed to implement this phone kiosk gallery. Lets throw out a random number of 5 million dollars to cover this cost. This would have to cover printing as well as any operational costs. We would need to pay a curator, a secretary, and a handful of installers. lets say each of them makes 65,000 as a yearly salary. Total staff costs would be about 500,000. This leaves 4.5 million for printing and maybe a few vans for our installers to drive around. This seems reasonable. Of course that 5 million has to come from somewhere so lets figure out where it would be best to come by that money without burdening the city. Currently Times Square is the American capital of outdoor advertising and prices for ad space in and around this area are astronomical. I would propose that a 15 block radius stemming from 44th and broadway should include enough phonebooths that ad revenue from each would total around 5 million yearly. Surely a few more ads in this area would go unnoticed and because of the location provide the most revenue.
Now lets be absurd and say that the total number of phone kiosks raising revenue in the Times Square area is 5,000. That still leaves 17,000 phone kiosks with artwork in them around the city. Those kiosks in Times Square sporting advertising are then being used to support a massive unprecedented use of public space for artwork and public services. While this is really a simple post on the subject, it does not seem far fetched in the slightest. Someone could surely work these numbers out and give us a business model which would make this simple post a reality. Given the opportunity I would be happy to spearhead a program of this nature. The problem is that infrastructure like phone kiosks, cab toppers, MTA subway cars etc. are not seen as public infrastructure but rather private property to be profited from. A sea change must happen in our understanding of what potentials this infrastructure holds.
Using the infrastructure that is already in place, NYC could have a vibrant public arts program operating citywide in our phone kiosks. Instead we allow private outdoor advertising companies to profit off of our neglect and misunderstanding. In this same way, many other public infrastructures could be co-opted for public purposes including cab toppers. How about the MTA? surely station domination campaigns at the major transit hubs like union square could pay for the implementation of city wide art projects where advertising now stands. And the kicker is this comes at no cost to the city whatsoever. We are merely redirecting profits that currently go to private individuals towards public resources which benefit the city at large. Imagine the cultural capital we would raise as a city being able to claim that our outdoor advertising industry supports the largest public art program the world has ever seen. I think we would make more money off tourism just by this fact alone to balance out any tax revenues seen through our outdoor advertising business'.
While this may seem a pipe dream to many, I see this as a viable option. The only thing standing in our way is the long standing expectation that outdoor advertising is an inevitable evil in our public spaces. This simply is not true and with a change in attitude, outdoor advertising can be nearly eliminated and public art programs put in its place. So the next time a big media stunt like this is pulled by Mr. Amato, sending 500 cab toppers out on the streets with public art and the city into a frenzy about how wonderful things are, imagine the possibilities missed before you get too excited.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Robert Lederman Explains More

I received an email today from one Robert Lederman. While I am not familiar with Robert, he obviously has taken issue with the recent move by the NYC parks department to promote NBC's new hero drama the Cape using NYC historical monuments. And he should as it seems he has been fighting for A.R.T.I.S.T rights in NYC for a long time now. What I find interesting is his knowledge that street artists, (in this case the term refers to artists selling their work on the streets of NY) are not allowed within 50 feet of public statues "based on the notion that temporary street artist displays aesthetically damage the public’s enjoyment of the Parks and of the many historical monuments within those parks."

NYC Parks Department Abuses Monuments to Advertise TV Show
by Robert Lederman (artistpres@gmail.com)
[See official NBC press release below my comments]

In its latest example of hypocritically exploiting and abusing the public property under its jurisdiction to promote private corporate interests, the NYC Department of Parks has announced a partnership with NBC TV in which it will drape “capes” over more than 30 historical monuments to promote a fantasy action show, The Cape.

Aside from the questionable aesthetic taste of using historical public art monuments like the statues of George Washington and Ghandi to promote a TV cop show, the advertising gimmick violates one of the most basic Parks Department rules concerning monuments.

The revised park rules ban street artists from setting up anywhere within 50 feet of any monument based on the notion that temporary street artist displays aesthetically damage the public’s enjoyment of the Parks and of the many historical monuments within those parks.

This joint NBC/Parks Department ad promotion uses the actual monuments for advertising, covers them with a black cape, violates all notions of artistic integrity of a public work of art and falsely conflates real heroes with NBC’s imaginary one.

There are currently three lawsuits by street artists pending in Federal and State Court against the revised Park rules. SEE this link
for details, contact info etc: http://www.scribd.com/doc/46408958/Park-Rules-Controversy

you can read what NBC and the Hollywood reporter have to say below.


NBC Kicks Off New Drama 'The Cape' In an Unprecedented Partnership with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to 'Cape' Historic Heroes

* January 5, 2011 1:02 PM

FourSquare and Twitter to Extend "Hero Behind the Cape" Campaign with "Hero a Day" Giveaway Contest for Fans Checking in Online from January 5-9

Grand Prize Winner to Receive Hero Prize Package While Daily Winners Can Win an Apple iPad

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. - January 5, 2011 - NBC will introduce a new superhero this month with the premiere of the drama series "The Cape," and in anticipation of the show's two-hour premiere on Sunday, January 9 (9-11 p.m. ET), NBC will partner with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation for a unique campaign to highlight historic statues all over the city.

"The Cape" will later move to its regular time slot on Mondays (9-10 p.m. ET) starting January 17.

Beginning Wednesday, January 5 through Sunday, January 9, 30 of New York City's historic statues will be outfitted with custom capes along with a plaque describing each hero's greatest achievement and the similarities between the character traits of the star of "The Cape" Vince Faraday (David Lyons).

The statues range from a Revolutionary War hero who was the nation's first President, to the leader in the fight for Cuban independence and to the world's greatest playwright, New York City is home to a plethora of monuments and statues that pay homage to many great heroes.

Statue visitors will also be able to enter the "Hero Behind the Cape" giveaway contest using FourSquare and Twitter.

Statues and locations include such heroes as George Washington in Union Square Park and Brooklyn, William Shakespeare in Central Park, Benjamin Franklin Downtown and Eleanor Roosevelt on the Upper West Side. For all locations of the 'caped' statues and official rules of the sweepstakes, which will last the entire duration of the promotion (January 5-9), go to www.herobehindthecape.com.

"We are really honored to partner with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation for this unique opportunity," said Adam Stotsky, President, NBC Marketing. "There is no bigger stage than New York City, which is home to dozens of statues honoring some of the most accomplished men and women in history. We wanted to introduce New Yorkers to the latest hero hitting the small screen - 'The Cape's' Vince Faraday - and pay homage to the heroes behind the City's historic statues."

"This sponsorship will benefit the preservation of New York's collection of public art in the parks while drawing new audiences to them," said Vickie Karp, Director of Public Information for New York City Parks & Recreation. "The new NBC series is a novel way to remind even the most jaded New Yorker that heroes are all around us."

Participants can enter the sweepstakes by visiting any one of the 30 caped statues all over New York City and checking in via their FourSquare account. Also, visitors can enter by taking a photo of themselves at any of the statue locations and posting their photo to Twitter. Users will simply need to direct message the official Twitter handle (www.twitter.com/NBCTheCape) or use the hashtag #herobehindthecapeswps when they post their picture.

One winner will be chosen each day as the "Hero a Day" from all the daily entries between January 5-9 and each will receive an Apple iPad. The grand-prize winner will receive the ultimate New York City "Hero" treatment including a luxurious dinner for two, limo service, two tickets to the taping of an NBC audience show and an Apple iPad.

From the producing team of Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun comes "The Cape," about a man who lost everything -- and is about to take it all back.

Lyons ("ER") stars as Vince Faraday, a cop framed for crimes he did not commit, forcing him to team up with a group of carnival misfits to take a new identity, fight crime and win his family back. Fueled by a desire to reunite with his wife, Dana (Jennifer Ferrin, "Life on Mars") and son, Trip (Ryan Wynott, "Flash Forward"), Faraday becomes "The Cape" -- his son's favorite comic book superhero -- taking the law into his own hands and battling the criminal forces that have overtaken Palm City.

Rounding out the cast are James Frain ("True Blood," "The Tudors") as billionaire Peter Fleming -- The Cape's nemesis -- who moonlights as the twisted killer, Chess; Keith David ("Death at A Funeral") as Max Malini, the ringleader of a circus gang of bank robbers who mentors Faraday and trains him to be The Cape; Summer Glau ("Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles") as Orwell, an investigative blogger who wages war on crime and corruption in Palm City.

Also starring are Dorian Missick ("Six Degrees") as Marty Voyt, a former police detective and friend to Faraday; Martin Klebba ("Pirates of the Caribbean") as Rollo, member and unassuming muscle of the circus gang of bank robbers and Vinnie Jones ("Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels") as Scales, resident thug and cohort of Chess, The Cape's nemesis.

"The Cape" is a Universal Media Studios and BermanBraun production from executive producer/creator Tom Wheeler ("Empire"), along with executive producers Berman and Braun, John Wirth ("Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"), and Gene Stein ("Accidentally On Purpose").

For "The Cape" embeddable clips and full episodes, visit NBC.com's official show site: http://www.nbc.com/the-cape/


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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Business in Vancouver-Graffiti: Art to some, vandalism to others

After the last big takeover project in Toronto we answered a few requests for information. One of these requests came from Business in Vancouver, a small weekly newspaper serving the greater Vancouver area. I'm always curious how anti-ad actions are contemplated by the industry and can't pass up the opportunity to potentially peek behind the curtain. I have found outdoor advertising companies to be quite opaque, as is evidenced by Pattison Outdoor's unwillingness to comment for this article. That said I spoke with Curt who authored this article. While there isn't a whole lot here for the regular PublicAdCampaign reader, it is interesting to note that these "vandalisms" or, acts of civil disobedience as I would like to call them, are becoming more prevalent. The industry sees these not as isolated events but part of a larger backlash. While it is good that our voices are being heard, it is important to note that acts of transgression are often integrated very suitably into the mainstream media structure and we must remain potent. View the whole article [HERE]

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NBC Kicks Off New Drama ‘The Cape’ In An Unprecedented Partnership With The New York City Department Of Parks And Recreation To ‘Cape’ Historic Heroes

Photo Via Animal NY

TV By The Numbers is reporting on a disturbing new marketing campaign that not only descerates New York City monuments, but also brings advertising far too close to one of the last public spaces on which it is not allowed. The concept is wrap 30 NYC statues with a cape similar to that worn by the protagonist on NBC's new superhero drama. Not to be taken lightly, the cultural implications of this joint venture are astounding. Read NBC's own thoughts on the marriage of historic figures and their superhero drama....
Beginning Wednesday, January 5 through Sunday, January 9, 30 of New York City’s historic statues will be outfitted with custom capes along with a plaque describing each hero’s greatest achievement and the similarities between the character traits of the star of “The Cape” Vince Faraday.
While the comparison of real life heros and heroins with a fictional character NBC is trying to make money off of seems dubious, this is not what I'm really concerned about. Outdoor advertising in New York City is policed by a strict set of rules put in place to keep intact civic qualities we have deemed important. For this reason we do not allow certain advertisements near churches and schools, we restrict advertising in residentially zoned districts, and most importantly we do not allow advertising in our city parks. In fact we prohibit ads within 200 feet of city parks so as to not desecrate the view one might have from inside this place of respite.
This media partnership breaks those rules and potentially opens the floodgates to other similar advances on our public spaces. As I have said before, advertising has an interest in being the only voice spoken in public space. Because of this, its intrusion into every imaginable opportunity is inevitable due to its very nature. This partnership is a prime example of this tendency in action and should not be taken lightly.

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