Billboard Advertising: Sex, Violence, and the Art of Marketing

Depending upon whom you ask, the billboard above could be a creative conflation of high art—think abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock—and the low art of titillation in the service of commerce, or it could be an offensive depiction of a female posed as victim of violence, meant to attract voyeuristic glances in a cynical ploy to stamp a brand—in this case designer jeans–upon the public’s consciousness.

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Eyesore of the Week: Brought to You By Lamar Advertising

Backside of Lamar Advertising billboard on Olympic Blvd. in L.A.'s Koreatown

The face of this billboard displays fresh ad copy, so we know it’s not abandoned.   And even though Lamar, which owns more billboards in the U.S. than any other company, lost $58 million last year, it’s hard to imagine that it couldn’t have found some stray pennies to sandblast and paint this billboard (perhaps by forgoing one trip in the company jet.)  But then, Lamar is known for its litigious nature, and has a number of active lawsuits against cities, counties, and other govermental jurisdictions around the country that have interfered in some way with its ability to put up billboards, so maybe they really do need everything they can scrape together to pay attorneys’ fees.

Smart License Plates: A Very Dumb Idea?

Watch the short video and then hit the “continue reading” link to take a short quiz.

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Ban on Mobile Billboards Moves Forward

Trailer Billboard Parked on Residential Street

People fed up with the unhitched trailer billboards taking up valuable parking spaces and visually blighting L.A. neighborhoods were given a ray of hope today, when a State Assembly committee approved a bill allowing cities to adopt outright bans on this form of advertising.  The bill must go through a second committee before it moves on the full assembly.  Read press release.

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Mobile Billboards:  Bringing More Air Pollution, Traffic Congestion, Parking Problems

Contest Promotions Signs: Helping Mom & Pop Stores, Or Creating Illegal Blight?

Sign, left, on outside wall of laundromat, right

Going to a laundromat to buy cottage cheese or sour cream isn’t something most people would think of doing, and in fact those products aren’t for sale in the  laundromat pictured above.   Nevertheless, the sign on the side of the building advertising Knudsen dairy products is permitted as an on-site sign, defined by city code as one directing attention to a product or service offered on the premises.

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Outdoor Advertising Industry: Little Lies, Whoppers, and Disinformation

Digital Billboard Being Erected in L.A. Last Year

Digital Billboard Being Erected in L.A. Last Year (Dollar signs per artistic license)

The outdoor advertising industry is a formidable force in Los Angeles and other cities throughout California and the rest of the country.  With a deep-pocketed membership it can pour millions into lobbying for favorable laws and ordinances, and it can mount lavish public relations campaigns on behalf of its view that billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising are necessary and highly beneficial elements of our visual environment.

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Turn Them Off? Let Them Stay? No Decision by PLUM Committee On Digital Billboards

l to r; Councilman Dennis Zine, CBS Outdoor vice-president Ryan Brooks, Garcetti aide Katherine Hennigan

l to r; Councilman Dennis Zine, CBS Outdoor vice-president Ryan Brooks, Garcetti aide Katherine Hennigan

What is the city of L.A. going to do about the 101 digital billboards erected pursuant to an agreement a Superior Court judge has found to be unlawful?   The City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee took up the question this week, but decided to delay action on a motion to instruct the Department of Building and Safety to stop issuing any new digital billboard permits and evaluate whether permits for the existing signs should be revoked.

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Eyesore of the Week: Brought to You by CBS Outdoor

CBS eysore 3

Continuing its quest for the crown of Eyesore Purveyor of the Year, CBS Outdoor presents this beauty on Venice Blvd.  Or is it a witty statement about the Angels’ flop in the recent American league playoffs?  In any event, the company reported a $35 million loss for the 3rd quarter of this year, so expecting it to comply with a sign code requirement that billboards without advertisements be covered with a clean, blank surface is clearly unreasonable.

Trees Illegally Chopped Down on 405 Freeway: Was It For Visibility of Billboards and Shopping Mall Signs?

405 Freeway right-of-way, left, Westfield Mall, right

405 Freeway right-of-way, left, Westfield Mall, right

Several weeks ago, the California Highway Patrol caught a person cutting trees in the 405 Freeway right-of-way adjacent to the new Westfield shopping mall in Culver City.  The above photo shows the remains of two of those trees, which stood in the line of sight of the billboard affixed to a corner of the shopping mall, advertising a yet-to-be-released Disney movie.  According to the California Department of Transportation, this blatantly illegal act is currently under investigation, along with six other tree-cutting incidents that may involve the issue of billboard or supergraphic sign visibility from L.A. area freeways.

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Judge Won’t Void Digital Billboard Permits, Says Citizens Can Challenge Them One-By-One

Digital Billboard Being Erected Last Year

Digital Billboard Being Erected Last Year

L.A. Superior Court Judge Terry Green ruled today that the permits issued for 101 digital billboards will have to be challenged through administrative appeals, even though he threw out the 2006 lawsuit settlement that gave Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor the right to put up 840 of the electronic signs.

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