Category Archives: activism

Madrid Street Advertising Takeover

Public Ad Campaign strikes again with a new advertising takeover. This one took over 106 bus shelter ads in Madrid. Artists around the world were asked to submit text for the billboards. The above photo shows text I personally submitted. It translates to: “advertisement for a bad movie.” Check out all the other photos and artists here.

Here’s the project summary:

MaSAT (Madrid Street Advertising Takeover) is the second international street ad takeover project, and the third in a series of civil disobedience projects intent on changing our expectations of public behavior in our shared environments. For this SAT project we targeted Cemusa bus shelters in 4 heavily populated locations around Madrid. This time, at the request of our Madrid based collaborators, participants were asked to submit only text based works. This fantastic idea allowed us to open up the submission request process to a wide range of individuals including sociologist, teachers, lawyers, gallery owners and anyone with a concern for the curation and participation in public space. Each of the 106 individuals were asked to submit one sentiment they wished to see exhibited on the streets. The result is a variety of unique visions of public dialogue and a glimpse at the possibilities available when we open up our public environment in a truly public way.

Calling Bullshit on Illegal Ads

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Here’s the deal: There’s a company called National Public Advertising Outdoor that puts up advertisements on sides of buildings and other public places in New York and other big cities. The ads they put up are illegal. They do not have a permit. They city is not getting paid. Instead, they pay the landlords of the buildings they use. Citizens are forced to look at advertising all over NYC because this company has illegally plastered their ads all over town. For whatever reason, the city looks the other way and rarely cracks down on them.

This spring, Jordan from The Public Ad Campaign blog organized a massive grassroots retaliation against the illegal billboards. See our coverage here and here. In short, an army of artists whitewashed 120 different illegal billboards and replaced them with art. NPA Outdoor was furious and sent out teams to put their ads back up in a matter of hours. A few artists even got arrested after being caught in the act by police.

Since the takeover, NPA Outdoor has added a new notice to all of their billboard sites. As you can see in the photo above, it reads, “Coming soon to this location: a chance to win these posters and other prizes inside.” They are trying to find a loophole in their bullshit illegal business. It’s illegal for a landlord to put an advertisement on the side of his building, but it’s not illegal to put up a sign advertising products that are for sale inside. So by putting up this bullshit notice that claims you can win the posters inside the store, NPA is trying to get around the law. They’re smart to add the phrase “coming soon,” because if you go in ANY of the stores that have this notice, you’ll find that there are no posters. It’s all bullshit. I’ve personally asked people in a half-dozen stores for more information on “winning” the posters and every clerk has looked at me like I was an idiot. They had no idea what I was talking about, because there is no drawing for posters. It’s bullshit.

Recently Posterchild and Jason Eppink set out to call NPA Outdoor on their bullshit. The duo replaced NPA’s notice with one of their own.

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Why won’t the city crack down on New York’s true graffiti problem?