<body> Public Ad Campaign: December 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.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

PosterBoy 12-22-11

Its been a while since I've seen a Posterboy piece on any of my subway commutes. Its not that he hasn't been hard at work, I know otherwise, I just haven't had the pleasure of running into any myself. This morning I had the fortune of changing my fortune and running into this gem. Keep your eyes on Posterboy as I know he has some great stuff coming up this year, including an interview with No New Enemies and a panel discussion in Hartford for the immediate future.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lost in Buenos Aires, Street Art Got Me Home

I have long thought about public arts ability to implicate a sense of place upon otherwise drab environments. Commissioned public art murals and sculptures, along with the unpermissioned public interactions we call urban intervention, create moments of recognition that often tie themselves concretely to a place and your experience of that space. Through your recognition of the visual imagery, your awareness of other parts of your surroundings become more focused and your experience enriched. These images and objects have a strange way of tying you mentally and physically to the place you are in and thus creating a stronger bond between you and the environment. To me this is an incredibly important issue as we become more and more urban as a species. Relating to your public spaces is what allows you to feel connected to the city and thus the people around you. These images and objects diminish anonymity and promote a sense of community.
Below is one persons account of how those moments of recognition helped navigate a city but to me represents something much greater. Do advertisements and massive billboards do this? My thinking is no but instead of arguing about it try to think about the last moment of visual excitement you had and ask yourself what sparked that eureka moment.
VIA Hyperallergic
On a recent vacation to South America, I accidently became lost in the middle of Buenos Aires. Separated from my partner who had the maps, money, hotel name and address, not to mention a command of the native language, I panicked. More [Here]

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Billboard Biz to Pay $3M in Sign Fines

It’s sign-off time for hundreds of illegal billboards.
In a record settlement, the nation’s largest billboard company has agreed to pay the city a $3 million fine to clear up hundreds of summonses accumulated over the past decade, The Post has learned.

Read more: [HERE]

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

US Moves Toward Banning Photoshop in Cosmetic Ad Photographs

The US is following the UK’s lead in banning advertisements for having too much digital manipulation. TheNational Advertising Division, a US watchdog that imposes self-regulation on the ad industry, has banned a CoverGirl mascara ad by Procter & Gamble because Photoshop was used to make the girl’s eyelashes thicker than they were in real life. Even though the enhancement was disclosed in the ad itself, NAD wasn’t satisfied, saying,

You can’t use a photograph to demonstrate how a cosmetic will look after it is applied to a woman’s face and then – in the mice type – have a disclosure that says ‘okay, not really.’

The NAD says that it’s following the lead of its sister body in the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority. Back in June, ASA banned a makeup ad featuring Julia Roberts for being too manipulated.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Interview by Helen Soteriou for No New Enemies

I was recently asked to do an interview with Helen Soteriou for the No New Enemies Network. A big thanks to Helen for making it happen and to NNE for letting me grace their features section.

When was the PublicAdCampaign set-up and why?
PublicAdCampaign began when I started replacing advertisements on NYC train platforms in late 2000. I would create a single image and post it repeatedly over every ad in the station, usually covering between 30 to 90 ads at a time. While I continue to do individual projects like this, over the years PublicAdCampaign has grown to encompass many other activities.

Full Interview [HERE]

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Monday, December 12, 2011

New study shows billboards hurt nearby property values

A new study shows that billboards negatively affect the values of neighboring properties. It also found that cities with strict billboard controls are experiencing greater economic prosperity than those with controls that are less strict.

The report, “Beyond Aesthetics: How Billboards Affect Economic Prosperity,” by urban planner Jonathan Snyder, is believed to be the first study on the economic impacts of billboards on nearby real estate value. Click here to download the study (PDF).

More [HERE]

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Billboard art project San Bernardino CA 2 déc 2011

New OX in San Bernardino California

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Friday, December 9, 2011

I'm Not Lovin' It - A Fathers Personal Response to in School Product Placement

It's no secret that advertising has infiltrated our schools. From morning news updates filled with commercials, to branded lesson plans, locker ads, and even branded report cards, advertising agencies are foaming at the mouth to hook impressionable youth on consumer behavior before they have developed the emotional tool kit with which to critically analyze commercial media messages.

With an entire generation of consumers up for grabs, parents and teachers are left to fight an uphill battle as the desire industry preys on the youths inability to discern between educational and commercial content. It is a troubling situation that is being fought hard by small independent not for profits like the LAMP institute. On the front lines are also parents, concerned for their children and rearing them to the best of their ability. Values instilled at home come face to face with our larger social values in our schools, and sometimes those differences spark annoyance and even outrage.

Not being a father myself, accounts of this type of backlash have overwhelmingly come to me from small news agencies and midwestern housewives, entirely divorced from my real life experience. I know that an ad for the new Power Rangers movie disguised as a math lesson plan is insidious and simply wrong, but my emotional connection to that wrong is distant at best and much harder to rally behind than my personal connection to outdoor advertising and its war on public space. (look to the next post on LA's new mural ordinance). That was the case until I was sent an email by a good friend and collaborator on many an art project. His 4 year old son has recently begun school and I have watched his father tirelessly look out for his well being over the past 3 years.

At a recent school assembly, the children were treated to an advertisement for McDonalds, disguised as entertainment. My closeness to the fathers son and their parental relationship made this fathers first hand account as well as outrage bring the magnitude of this wrong into astral focus. Something as simple as good nutrition was anything but. For this father it was a lesson taught over the past years with diligence and patience. To have that undermined by a public institution tasked with aiding this parent in raising a healthy and intelligent boy was inexcusable.

What is not in the letter below, but I thought poignant, was that the school repeatedly asked parents to omit brownies and other calorie rich items from bake sale donations in an effort to look after the health of the students. This same faculty then allows a man to sing a 3 minute song about the merits of a happy meal. A brownie may be sweet but the allure of a singing clown, a plastic toy, and the warm yellow iconography of the golden arches ever present on our collective horizon are two entirely different beasts, and a difference that should be recognized by those appointed to raise our youth in a socially and ethically responsible manner.

A concerned fathers response to McDonalds Entertainment at a school assembly:

To Whom It May Concern:

I'm writing to voice my concern and frustration about a specific component of the entertainment selection at the attendance assembly on Thursday, December 8, 2011. Clearly, the assembly is a wonderful event for the children and I fully support it - which is why I have attended every one that has been held so far.

The storyteller, 'Babalu', was truly entertaining - he was very animated and seemed to connect well with the kids. However, I was more than surprised to hear his second story center around a trip to McDonald's. It not only highlighted the fast food restaurant itself, but the products (Happy Meals), the choices in those Happy Meals (fries, hamburgers, strawberry shakes), the logo (golden arches), and even the theme song of McDonald's. Reinforcing the jingle of a corporation that contributes to the nutritional void that exists in America is not acceptable under any circumstances - especially in school where children should be educated about good nutritional habits and daily exercise.

In a nation where 17% of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years old are obese (New York's obesity rate is 23.9%), this is NOT the message I want preached to my 4 year old son. He is not familiar with McDonald's because our family rarely eats at such establishments. Having my child's school introduce him to products and food that have no discernible nutritional benefit is inappropriate. I fail to see how this story couldn't have been told another way using healthier options.

I would like to know if Thursday's entertainer was sponsored - directly or indirectly - by McDonald's or any other for-profit corporation. If there is any agenda that is being promoted - subversively or deliberately, I would like to be made aware so that I can make informed decisions on behalf of my son.
Thank you for your attention to this matter,

-Signature omitted for privacy-

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Material Misery - You Brought This Upon Yourself

Spot on!

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Ads will possess your phone using subliminal sound waves

Er, we don't want to sensationalize this or anything, but your phone could soon be at the mercy of inaudible sound pulses that trigger location-specific ads, sales promotions and other potentially demonic notifications. More [HERE]

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Billboard Merry Go Round

This is just plain fun and after a birthday evening about all I have in me to post. More tomorrow!

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Objective Measures of Emotion Related to Brand Attitude: A New Way to Quantify Emotion-Related Aspects Relevant to Marketing

While using quantifiable science to test subjects likes and dislikes toward a product seems relatively benign and even potentially beneficial, to use these methods to create better brand associations and marketing techniques borders on brainwashing. While I know these scientific endeavors wont stop, having control over their influence on me is my only line of defense as a citizen in a consumer world trying to retain core values not expressed in consumer marketing techniques. Omitting these messages and new techniques from public space allows us to retain a public identity outside of commercial influences.
With this study we wanted to test the hypothesis that individual like and dislike as occurring in relation to brand attitude can be objectively assessed. First, individuals rated common brands with respect to subjective preference. Then, they volunteered in an experiment during which their most liked and disliked brand names were visually presented while three different objective measures were taken. Participant's eye blinks as responses to acoustic startle probes were registered with electromyography (EMG) (i) and their skin conductance (ii) and their heart rate (iii) were recorded. We found significantly reduced eye blink amplitudes related to liked brand names compared to disliked brand names. This finding suggests that visual perception of liked brand names elicits higher degrees of pleasantness, more positive emotion and approach-oriented motivation than visual perception of disliked brand names. Also, skin conductance and heart rate were both reduced in case of liked versus disliked brand names. We conclude that all our physiological measures highlight emotion-related differences depending on the like and dislike toward individual brands. We suggest that objective measures should be used more frequently to quantify emotion-related aspects of brand attitude. In particular, there might be potential interest to introduce startle reflex modulation to measure emotion-related impact during product development, product design and various further fields relevant to marketing. Our findings are discussed in relation to the idea that self reported measures are most often cognitively polluted.

Full Article [HERE]


After Miami PublicAdCampaign is Back on Track

I just got back from two weeks in Miami for Art Basel. I was involved in a non-PublicAdCampaign related event called the Underbelly project. While the project is unrelated to advertising it is highly caught up in notions of public access and participation with the public environment. Here at PublicAdCampaign we see advertising in public space as a barrier to a more open public interaction with public space. The Underbelly project throws notions of public/private, legal/illegal, out the window and uses our shared environment to create monumental myth and culture. I couldn't prouder to be so integrally involved in this amazing endeavor and hope PublicAdCampaign readers will take a minute to have a look at what the Underbelly project has done.
That said, lets get back into some advertising related posts cause PublicAdCampaign has a lot do bring you in 2012! Here's a Baldessari billboard for the high line. Ill have a look at it on my way to the studio tomorrow but I'm already excited that this once advertising billboard has become a viable art venue. Now if we could only return the rest of the eyesores along the High Line to the public interest.
David Byrne shoved a moaning planet under the High Line, we’ve been waiting for another festive spruce-up and you can’t really get more festive than a giant $100,000 dollar bill, thanks to the never-boring art stalwart John Baldessari. Excellent. Also, nauseating. [More Here]

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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