Creative Destruction

April 20, 2006

Street-Level Advertising

Filed under: Personal Ramblings — Brutus @ 12:28 am

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 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 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 retreat to the opposite corner of the elevators from the Captivate screens in the building where I work. 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.

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1 Comment »

  1. For some reason, this makes me very glad I live in the Denver area rather than one of the more media-savvy cities out East of me. Not even Los Angeles has become this bad, at least not from a media-immersion standpoint, and L.A. is one of the birthplaces of all that is bad in the industry.

    Comment by Off Colfax — April 20, 2006 @ 4:30 am | Reply


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