Street-Level Advertising

Posted: April 19, 2006 in Advertising

I’ve noticed a few new developments in street-level advertising in Chicago. They’re not innovative so much as intrusive.

Those that struck me the most are screens built into bus stop shelters by the French company JC Decaux. I saw one today running an endless video loop of the Mission Impossible 3 movie trailer (in the center of the 3′ x 5′ poster).

I’ve also noticed the return of graffiti to Chicago. (I noticed its absence a couple years ago. Well, it’s changed.) I don’t know that that’s a good or bad thing, but I find it curious that it isn’t erased or covered up instantly. A few of the places I routinely travel past on the Red Line have been graffiti strewn for a few months now.

The local ABC affiliate recently put in a new studio at street level, behind a couple layers of glass, where mouth breathers can line up on the sidewalk and watch the evening news broadcast (as though there were something to see — there’s no audio). This isn’t a new thing, of course. Following examples in NYC, the NBC affiliate in Chicago did the same thing a year or more ago, though the proximity to the street isn’t so immediate. The NBC affiliate has a large, exterior news crawl that grates on me, whereas the ABC affiliate has a huge, 3D, BRIGHT, multicolor display that doesn’t provide news but merely attracts attention with those silly kaleidoscopic news graphics that ooze excitement without actually having any. Plus, there are two long, multicolor displays for news crawls, but the ABC affiliate apparently hasn’t programmed them with anything yet but its own identifiers.

I generally feel the need to retreat from the media. For example, I instinctively move to the corner opposite the Captivate screens in elevators. I don’t want to be someone’s sales mark all day long, nor a captive audience. But it’s getting harder and harder to turn away. I learned recently that Phillips has applied for a patent for technology to defeat various ways to bypass advertising. It’s really getting ugly out there. Soon, I suspect there will be a computer chip with an optical interface implanted in the skull at birth to force feed us the stuff I’m desperately trying to ignore.

  1. grasshopper says:

    Who are you Brutus? I am with you re: all your posts I’ve read so far. Is your Spiral Staircase referring to the Langston Hughes’ poem? Really like everything here. Simpatico.

  2. Brutus says:

    I’m glad to hear that you like what you read. I blog anonymously both here and at Creative Destruction (see blogroll).

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