<body> Public Ad Campaign: February 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.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Well Hung and Dystopia Filter-Upcoming Group Shows

I'm in two group shows coming up on March 5th. While both exhibitions have work that previously hung in Philadelphia, the Chelsea exhibition has a new lightbox I've been working on that I'm quite happy with. The Chelsea exhibition will also help raise funds for the fantastic FreeArts program. Please come out to the opening receptions if you have the time. Both shows have some fantastic work by a wide range of artistic talents.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

San Francisco General Advertising Sign Program Annual Report

San Francisco has made it a priority to reign in the over proliferation of commercial media. While this is no small task, a clear cut agenda seems to help immensely.
"The primary goals of the program are to build and maintain an inventory of all general advertising signs in San Francisco, to correct outstanding sign‐related Planning Code violations, and to remove unlawful signs."
This years General Advertising Sign Program Annual Report suggests that the goals have been met and San Francisco now has a full inventory of all commercial signage and is aware of thier legal status. A step in the right direction to control and a step in the right direction to removal.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Banksy-DASK and Taking Out Billboards One By One

Seems like there are a lot of billboard takeovers happening these days which i couldn't be more excited about. While the most widely noticed is probably the newest BANKSY hit. While I am excited to see the artist returning to sow of his earlier tactics, the video from TMZ showing people fighting over his work is just a shame.
DASK billboard VIA Endless Canvass

BANKSY billboard VIA Wooster Collective

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Fishing Scam by Eyesaw

This is the first time I'm hearing of Eyesaw and I absolutely adore this piece.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Graffiti 1 - Sofa 0

Monday, February 14, 2011

ROSH in Madrid on Valentines Day

On this Valentine's day, ROSH gives us an unexpected treat and something better than roses. Watch the video [here] or go to the artists website [Here]

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Spoofin Email, Identity Theft, and Trying To Make My Life Difficult

A few weeks ago I posted about an upcoming billboard competition I am judging in St Louis along with Andrew James of the Good Citizens Gallery. The winning design will be installed for a full month on a billboard facade atop the Good Citizens gallery in conjunction with the SGC international. The post I made was harmless enough, simply stating that the competition was still accepting submissions. Two days later I got a strange email from Andrew, who at this point I had no contact with. The email started out normal enough, explaining the billboard competition rules, submission process, etc. While I had never spoken to or emailed Andrew before, I thought he was simply writing to explain the rules of the competition and nothing more. As the email progressed it became clear that the email was not written to fill me in on the details but rather to address a more pressing issue, a purportedly threatening email I had sent. The email that I had apparently sent Andrew had a link to the TOSAT project making it look as though I might "disturb" the competition billboard. His response was understandably upset and he made it clear that my "behavior" was unprofessional.

The thing is, I never sent Andrew any email. I immediately called the gallery and spoke with Andrew for the first time. I explained that I had no idea who had sent him that email but that I was one of the judges for the billboard competition and had no interest in threatening him or manipulating the billboard. After some detective work I found out that the originating IP address came from the Toronto Star. After contacting them it became clear that someone had "spoofed" my email, hoping to incite ill will between Andrew and I. My thinking is that someone at Pattison outdoor sent the email cause they are still upset over the TOSAT project. While I understand that all is fair in love and war,iIdentity theft is pretty nasty behavior.I know I am somewhat of an idealist and have been known to go off on people here and there over email, but I try to keep this behavior to a minimum. If you receive an obnoxious email from me, please take a moment to consider whether or not I was actually the sender as I clearly have enemies out there that would like to cause problems between me and my colleagues.
While this behavior is inexcusable, it is not entirely unexpected. Both www.publicadcampaign.org and www.publicadcampaign.net are copy sites setup to draw web traffic away from my site and to criticize the PublicAdCampaign agenda. As time progresses the outdoor ad industry continues to show their true colors in their desperate attempts to reverse the tide of public opinion.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Radical Rutgers Professor Maps Toxic Ads, Then Buys Billboards to Publish Her Results

I just stumbled upon Naa Oyo A. Kwate's pursuits through GOOD magazine. She is currently working on projects which map and catalog outdoor advertising content and relate those statistics back to social health issues which might be a result of said advertising. Her results are astounding and yet another reason for the public to take seriously the role that outdoor advertising plays in our public and thus private lives. On top of this she plans to purchase outdoor advertising space for her own messages which speak to the problems she has come across. While I love this idea, I would be incredibly surprised if she was allowed to purchase ad space to critique outdoor advertising. I will be doing more research on Naa as I am sure there is much more to discover. While were at it, Ron English knew tobacco, McDonalds, and liquor ads were bad way back when. He didn't map them, he just re-imagined them.
Naa Oyo A. Kwate's innovative research analyzes the urban environment in terms of its impact on health. As Associate Professor in the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers University, she carries out studies that focus on what she calls "toxic exposures" to things like fast-food outlets, advertising messages, and even subtler cues such as bulletproof glass, barbed wire, or shopfront security grilles. [More]

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

NEKO lock

The irony of putting an image of a lock into an ad frame that you are not supposed to be able to access is just fantastic. I'm liking NEKO's work more and more these days.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New OX Work

When it comes to ad takeovers, it doesn't get any better than OX. photo courtesy of the artist.

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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Airplane Advertising And A Homogenous Consumerist Agenda

It seems today, with the economic crisis wreaking havoc on business and increasingly focusing our attention on the immense debt we have all found ourselves under as a country, that advertising is cropping up in places that even two years ago would have been unacceptable to most people. Take for example my recent flight to LA on US Airways. After having negotiated the terminal and what always seems to me a conspicuous consumption wasteland put in place to offset the boredom associated with the inevitable downtime involved in flying, I made it to my seat. I then proceeded to pull out a book I was reading, Sociology on Culture, Hall, Neitz, Battani, unlocked the tray table and let it fall to my lap. As I brought my book up to rest on this retractable surface I was greeted by the advertising punchline, "Droid Does Mexico." Upon further inspection, this advertisement or "Care Cover" (as it was referred to in small type at the upper right hand corner) was provided under the auspices that is was anti-bacterial and had been graciously donated in an effort to increase safety and health on my 6 hour flight to the west coast. While I was unsure if I felt like resting my hands on a surface that used the antimicrobial properties of silver to prevent natural life processes, I simply peeled off the 3 "Care Covers" in my aisle and went along reading. It wasn't' until the flight was nearing its end that I decided to write this post.

"Ladies and gentleman, thank you for flying US Airways. We have a special promotion available to our inflight customers we would like to take the time to tell you about before we land in Los Angeles." A 5 minute pitch was then read by what I assumed was the captain. He explained that Barclays, a company making a name for itself with situational advertising placement, had teamed up with US Airways for an unprecedented Frequent Flyer credit card that simply blew the competition out of the water. Free roundtrip tickets, double miles, triple miles, who the fuck knows. I tuned out as fast as I could and watched a stewardess pace the aisle with informational pamphlets and registration forms. As expected there were only a few takers and most of those seemed only to oblige the stewardess' offer out of kindness and again, boredom.

Ad creep is not a new phenomenon. It has increased at an unprecedented pace over the last decade and a half for a number of reasons. New technologies have made new ad formats possible and decreased the cost of many others, advertising saturation has made it necessary to find alternative ways of advertising which often look new but are simply old ideas placed into new contexts, and lastly it seems ad creep has proliferated as society has come to accept the notion that in a time of fiscal crisis we cant be choosey about where ads are placed because in fact they are a necessity in order to continue to operate our services, (private or public) at levels we have become accustomed to.

While I do not believe this is true, the old arguments against encroaching ads were aesthetic and relied on a sense of taste and respectfulness. The "Care Covers" adorning my tray table would have been offensive not too long ago as peoples sense of duty to advertising was less than their sense of duty to their selves. The addition of advertising to my tray table, while being an aesthetic nuisance was also an affront to me as a customer. I had paid good money for the services provided by US Airways and in turn expected they would treat me not as an impression, but as an intelligent human being. Somewhere along the line this relationship between business and customer, government and citizen, has regressed and increasingly we see large institutions willing to break that code of conduct which kept us safe from a limitless barrage of commercial intrusions.

While this new conduct might highlight a newfound disrespect, I think rather it exemplifies a lassie faire attitude towards public space and ultimately the larger cultural atmosphere that we live in. In our society, the word culture means many things and the United States is not short on variations. It is these variations and the richness of experience that they provide which we as a nation claim as our most distinguishing characteristic. In New York, the melting pot is a term widely used to describe the affluence of cultural differences which makes the city what it is, the cultural capitol of the world. It is then this melting pot which we must respect and brace against oblivion if we are to retain the richness of our lives and experiences.

Culture is not a fixed term, but rather a constantly negotiated system of values which we choose to adhere to as groups. Culture, or cultural beliefs help us negotiate our communities through similarity and difference. Sometimes culture expresses our morality and through stories and social relations unique to certain cultures, that culture's morality is expressed and passed on. In this way culture becomes an important tool with which to reiterate social values and pass on the best, or worst of ourselves. Racism, sexism, antisemitism, and anti gay attitudes are all cultural motifs which many of us would not align ourselves and in doing so we assert our difference from those cultures which might permit such behavior. In this way we see cultural narratives have an immense affect on the trajectory of our society and the communities we live in. For this reason hasidic culture can seem incredibly insular but the fact of the matter is that this insularity is merely a way of preventing other cultures from wearing at the long standing moral values which hasidic culture deems important for a virtuous and fulfilling life.

What then is the culture that commercial advertising pushes and what are the moral values which this culture of commerce comes to identify? This is a question we must all think about very seriously. While "Droid does Mexico" might not seem to express any overt morals, its role in a culture of commerce does begin to speak to the culture that we are living in in America today. The Industrial revolution may have made goods cheaper and therefore spread wealth to all, but the resulting mass market it created has resulted in a culture of consumerism we might want to take a long look at. Consumerist culture is about the individual, the goods and services you purchase reflecting your cultural status. Through consumerism we tend to negotiate our position in a societal hierarchy based on what we own, its value, and increasingly its newness in a constantly updated market of goods.

Advertising, being the engine of the mass market promotes these consumerist ideals to the maximum affect. In fact it is through advertising that we have the most contact with consumerism. You might find yourself in a mall, overwhelmed by the consumption options, or watching a child throw a christmas morning tantrum after not receiving what they wanted from Santa, and witness the bold face of consumerism gone wild, but advertising's ubiquity is surely the most important force reminding us of a consumerist culture and therefore promoting a consumerist morality. While this train cannot be stopped, one could potentially opt out of those vehicles which bring advertising to your door. Television can be DVR'ed, radio can be public, arriving late to the movies you can skip the 20 minutes of commercials (although you might not get a seat). In this way you can deny advertisings appeal to convince you that a consumerist culture is relevant and in doing so object to a morality based around personal fulfillment. The problem I see is the intrusion of advertising on our public spaces, and environments in which we have no option but to consume consumption.

The proliferation of advertising media in public is destructive because it forces consumer culture on an unwitting public, but also because it is so ubiquitous, that it begins to create a single homogenous culture of consumerism. When we are all looking at the same ads, promoting the same consumerist morals, it is not long before we all begin to share a similar consumerist identity. This becomes very difficult for a country intent on keeping its cultural variety intact and a society which prides itself on a plethora of cultures and therefore moral values. While the "Droid Does Mexico" advertisement may not be the harbinger of doom that I have cast it as, it does reflect a phenomena I think we must all pay close attention to as we negotiate our way in the future. What is at stake is the fabric of our society and our commitment to a cultural morality befitting a great nation.

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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